October 15, 2011
I enjoy my iPhone tremendously; I think it's the most important product Apple has ever created and one they were born to make. As a consumer who has waited far too long for the phone industry to get the swift kick in the ass it so richly deserved, I'm entirely on Apple's side here.
But as a software developer, I am deeply ambivalent about an Apple dominated future. Apple isn't shy about cultivating the experience around their new iOS products and the App Store. There are unusually strict, often mysterious rules around what software developers can and cannot do -- at least if they want entry into the App Store. And once you're in, the rules can and will change at any time. Apple has cracked down several times already:
The developers involved are contractually prevented from even discussing specifically what happened to them by the terms of the app store. Those frustrating, inconsistent, opaque App Store experiences led developers to coin parodies such as Apple's Three Laws of Developers.
- A developer may not injure Apple or, through inaction, allow Apple to come to harm.
- A developer must obey any orders given to it by Apple, except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.
- A developer must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Law.
It is absolutely clear who is in charge when you submit an application to the App Store. Apple developers serve at the pleasure of the king.
In Apple's defense, this is done in the name of protecting the consumers from malicious, slimy, or defective applications. Sort of like Nintendo's Seal of Approval, I guess.
The court of the king is a lucrative place to be, but equally dangerous. While upgrading my iPhone to iOS 5 – an excellent upgrade, by the way – I was surprised to discover the following blurb in the feature notes:
Safari Reader displays web articles sans ads or clutter so you can read without distractions. Reading List lets you save interesting articles to peruse later [like the popular Instapaper application], while iCloud keeps your list updated across all your devices.
Apple has since changed the page, but at the time I read it, there was a direct linked reference to Instapaper, the popular "save this webpage to read later" application which Reading List is a clone of. I distinctly remember this mention, because I was shocked that they would be so open and overt about replacing a beloved third-party application. Perhaps it made Apple uncomfortable too; maybe that's why they pulled the Instapaper text and link.
If Microsoft added a feature to Windows that duplicated a popular application's functionality, developers would be screaming bloody murder and rioting in the, er, blogs and web forums. But in the Mac world, if the king deems it necessary, then so it must be.
When iOS 5 and Lion ship, Apple will show a much larger percentage of iOS-device owners that saving web pages to read later is a useful workflow and can dramatically improve the way they read.
If Reading List gets widely adopted and millions of people start saving pages for later reading, a portion of those people will be interested in upgrading to a dedicated, deluxe app and service to serve their needs better. And they’ll quickly find Instapaper in the App Store.
I've met Marco Arment, the developer of Instapaper, and I like Marco. He's even been a guest on the Stack Exchange podcast. This is a nice, optimistic interpretation, but the reality is a little scarier. I'm struggling to understand why anyone would buy Instapaper when they can click a button in Safari and have that web page delivered to any of their Macs or iOS devices for later reading via iCloud.
Ah, but wait – what about offline support? Yes, that's something only Instapaper can deliver! Or can it?
A common scenario: an Instapaper customer is stocking up an iPad for a long flight. She syncs a bunch of movies and podcasts, downloads some magazines, and buys a few new games, leaving very little free space. Right before boarding, she remembers to download the newest issue of The Economist. This causes free space to fall below the threshold that triggers the [new iOS 5 space] cleaner, which — in the background, unbeknownst to her — deletes everything that was saved in Instapaper. Later in the flight, with no internet connectivity, she goes to launch Instapaper and finds it completely empty.
That's the problem with kings, you see. Their rule is absolute law, but they can be capricious, erratic, and impulsive. If you're lucky enough to live under the rule of a fair and generous king, then you'll do well. But historically speaking, monarchies have proven to be … unreliable.
I tend to agree with Marco that this is, in the big scheme of things, a minor technical problem. A private application cache not subject to iCloud syncing and space limitations would fix it. But it speaks volumes that Marco – a dedicated subject of the king – apparently had no idea this change was coming until it was on top of him. It's negatively impacting his Instapaper business and his customers. It's also concerning that this issue wasn't resolved or at least raised as a serious concern during the lengthy iOS 5 beta. Perhaps Apple's legendary secrecy is to blame. I honestly don't know.
As a consumer, I like that Apple is perfectly willing to throw its software developers under a bus to protect me (or, more cynically, Apple itself). But as a software developer, I'm not sure I can cope with that and I am unlikely to ever develop anything for an iOS device as a result. If you choose to deliver software in the Apple ecosystem, this is simply the tradeoff you've chosen to make. Apple developers serve at the pleasure of the king.
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Posted by Jeff Atwood
It's not just the devs that serve at the king's pleasure - by imposing these restrictions, Apple also says that the users use their device at their (Apple's) pleasure. Thou shalt not run any software (excepting web apps) that has not been approved by thy benefactor Apple.
To me, that is at least as horrifying.
I fully agree with the main conclusion of this post, but the comparison with Windows is not entirely accurate. Yes, if Microsoft were to include program X in their OS where before X was a market on its own, there'd be trouble. Legal trouble even.
Yes, Apple is doing the same thing. The difference you are overlooking here is that Microsoft is a monopolist, Apple is not, although it is trying hard. If you're not considered a monopolist, there is no (legal) issue directly competing with app providers on your own platform.
"In Apple's defense, this is done in the name of protecting the consumers from malicious, slimy, or defective applications. Sort of like Nintendo's Seal of Approval, I guess."
Considering that some of the games that consistently make the "worst of all time" list have that seal, it didn't work out so well.
Instapaper also integrates with the kindle, does it not? That'd be one reason to still use it.
@Fredy - So what makes MS a "monopolist" and Apple not? Apparently being charged with an antitrust lawsuit isn't it- Apple's already been sued for it's deep integration between iTunes and it's iPods.
Microsoft has a million antifans ready to scream "monopoly" as soon as it even adds any new feature to it's OS, but how come nobody complains that Apple literally bans apps from the iPhone that duplicate functionality of the device?
@Miffthefox don't get him distracted with replies or else he'll lose his place in the queue for the iphone 45
One huge feature Instapaper has over Reading List is integration with other apps. Most every popular Twitter client can save links to Instapaper, along with newsreaders as well.
If all you want to do is saves links from a web browser (assuming that's Safari) for reading later, then Reading List should work for you. Beyond that, you really do need Instapaper.
100% agree with you!
Apple products rock, especially IPhone, but I'd never take the risk to invest any development effort in such an Autocratic market.
Pardon my ignorance, but how, exactly, is this any different from how Apple has handled itself in the past 5 years? The past 10?
To me it seems like the premise of this article is akin to saying, "I'm shocked that Apple devices are significantly overpriced in comparison to its competitors." This is unfortunately, more of the same.
I'm going to go ahead and say that it actually a shame that Microsoft does not have more freedom in this regard, because I suspect that a number of design choices which effect reverse-compatibility issues would not have been as significant. Remember: IE 6 and compatibility mode were kept so that people didn't accuse MS of "breaking their website."
As a complete aside, it has been forever since I last replied to a codinghorror story. I'm shocked that there isn't some way to associate our replies with our Stack Exchange ID's. I'm also shocked that it does not support SE style markup.
As a consumer, I will always also be a citizen, a worker, a father and (hopefully) an intelligent person. As a consumer, I am still an adult. A product that is designed to convert me into a child may be an excellent product, the best possible product ever, indeed. Precisely for that reason, I will always look for an alternative, if it is available.
Unfortunatelly, it is incumbent upon us the great responsibility of legislating on reality. This is a time for more reasoning, not less.
This is exactly why I have never been able to really like Apple although I do admire their product design and rule-breaking creativity. Besides, those unusually strict or mysterious restrictions are not only posed on developers, but also on consumers as well, especially when you are a geek. A lot of things you just can't do it on those iDevices and are forced to use them at Apple's pleasure.
Btw, do you remember me? You made a PC for me years ago, probably a year before the launch of StackOverflow. Congratulations on the big success of the site. I have been a big fan and heavy user of it.
I think this is a fair comparison. I don't know what the outrage in the other comments is about. The difference with MS in the 90s is of course that if you wanted a desktop computer with commercial software back then you really had no choice but to buy a Windows computer.
When it comes to Apple both developers and consumers have a choice.
I loved Apple for many years, but the iPhone was the beginning of the end of that love. Even as a consumer, I don't want to live under a monarch. I came to Apple to get away from the Windows monarchy, but since the iPhone Apple has been far worse than Windows.
Isn't this simply the price for a great system with total integration? We can't have a stable, safe, curated system that performs incredibly well and evolves sometime on the back of third party apps (isn't that necessary, over time?), and yet at the SAME TIME have that system be open and fair to all developers?
Someone is always upset. Apple could certainly be better, but they also are who they are, and balancing those compromises is always going to be difficult.
I'm wondering if the Apple approach is actually better overall for technology and progress. I don't know for sure, but maybe we'll find out in coming years.
Microsoft doesn't Sherlock developers, it IEs them. Remember Netscape? Remember how Microsoft murdered Netscape and the web for a decade with their subpar but built-in recompile of Mosaic? Antitrust lawsuits? Any of that familiar, Jeff?
Apple devs are well aware of the risks and choose to develop for the best and most profitable platform regardless. If Apple wants to build a shiny new road through our shops, we move over a bit and try again.
Or you can develop for a second- or third-rate platform like Windows or Android or the web, but they're technically, aesthetically, and financially inferior, so few Apple-quality devs will.
Isn't this the *exact* same as Visual Studio integrating popular plugins by rewriting them, or a Windows OS finally natively implementing a clipboard history?
It's perfectly legitimate for Apple to move into this application space, unless you're a fan of 20-year monopolies. Not exposing the same level of functionality to developers for offline storage, however, is playing dirty.
It's hard to begrudge a company the right to incorporate functionality that users have shown they want. Nobody complained when Microsoft introduced a basic anti-malware solution for Windows (well, no one but Symantec and McAfee and so on). The developer who fills in a "missing" feature of the OS ought to know that the gravy train is only going to last as long as it takes for the OS vendor to fill in the gap itself.
I suppose we can debate whether an offline Web page reader should be considered an integral part of an operating system, in the same way malware protection might be. And referencing the very product they were killing in the feature notes was crass, to say the least. Still, does anyone expect the Jobs-era Apple to be polite? Social mores are for the little people. The king is too important to be bothered with mere niceties.
And, @Mdhughes, let's not rewrite history: NETSCAPE killed Netscape with their boneheaded decision to rewrite their code base from scratch--thereby going dark for three and a half years and missing the entire dot-com boom--only to resurface in late 2000 with Netscape 6, which is generally remembered as one of the worst browsers of all time. If they had released a halfway decent Netscape 5 in 1998 they'd still be with us.
Hmm, I tried posting a commen here earlier but it never appeared. Anyway...
Concerns about Apple's tightly controlled rules for the AppStore are legit. But vendors incorporating other apps' functionality? That's hardly new, nor is it unique to Apple. Remember DriveSpace and EMM386?
Now, it Apple at this point rejected Instapaper because it duplicated iOS functionality, that would be deeply troubling.
While the reaction to Steve Job's death was understandable considering the impact he had on a lot of people, we should be under no illusion that Apple is any more altruist that any other big company. They look after bottom line first and second.
I consider the iPhone the single most insidious piece of technology in human history.
It's single-handedly gotten everyone comfortable with the idea of walled gardens and not having complete control of their hardware.
I pray that whoever takes over next won't be nearly as successful at selling gilded cages as Jobs was.
All I can say is "dude, are you just waking up?" For someone that's had an iPhone and been in this business for so long, surely you have to known this for a *long* time. Apple has had these policies in place since they launched the app store.
Also, at this point I think it's unfair to call Apple a "King". Unfair to kings that is. Apple is more like a despotic ruler...
"I consider the iPhone the single most insidious piece of technology in human history."
Before the iPhone, applications were published through carriers, which required a 40-50% fee, plus bribes to get in. After the iPhone success, people started choosing phone first, carrier second, and developers were able to work independently.
I want to micromanage my phone as much as I want to install plugins on my microwave, and I'm really thankful for, to give you an example, a simplified multitask functionality. Compare that to 5 out of 10 paid Android apps in 2009 being task managers/monitors. What you call freedom I call hell. Thank god 99% of the market is with me.
I love Steam and the Apple's App Store. My life just became so much easier with them.
I hope Marco can use some kind of document container and save to iCloud to solve this issue.
Apple is just pursuing the video game model but in a wider context of a platform that is meant to do more than just play games. Nintendo and others have been doing business like this for decades now. As a customer, I don't believe their policies benefit me that much. The app store is still full of garbage that obscures the truly amazing and useful, and their policies don't drive the creation of the latter. In the future, I intend to stay as far away from the king's court as I can, both as a customer and as a developer.
The Reader aspect of Safari has been on Mac OS X for a couple of years now. It's probably the only reason why I use Safari as my default web browser. Safaris can be a bit slower than Google Chrome on Windows, and it doesn't have as many plugins. However, the Reader feature is a killer feature. And, it's easy to use. Unlike Readability, it doesn't send your content to a third party to see.
The Read Later functionality is also quite nice and first appeared on Mac OS X before the iPhone. Again, it's nice because its a single click. It was obvious when these features first appeared in Mac OS X that they'd be sooner or later ported to the iPhone.
All operating systems, as they become more robust and compete for the consumer market, incorporate new features -- many of them found in very popular third party applications that add basic functionality to the OS.
Marco posts an interesting scenario: Someone downloading something when they have Internet access that causes the cache and tmp to be cleaned, but then immediately is in a situation where new content can't be downloaded because of a lack of Internet connectivity.
However, that scenario probably isn't as common as someone trying to download new content and can't not because their iPhone is really full, but because of temporary and cache files filling up the storage space of the iPhone. Now what should be done in that context?
We could create a file browser, and have the user try to figure out where the various cache and tmp directories are and clean them out -- hoping that someone doesn't do what Instapaper does and store files they want in those directories. Not a very iPhonish way of handling the issue. Or, we can do what the iPhone does and clean up what should be temporary storage when storage is low.
Apple could have taken two different approaches. One is to constantly scrub these directories. The other is their current approach: Allow apps to store files in these directories, but understand that when the iPhone is low on storage it will purge these directories.
I'm a huge Apple fan, and an iOS developer, but you won't me see disagree with the base sentiment. The worst, I think, is that Apple, in Keynotes and investor calls, boasts of how much they are "paying" developers. While it is money transiting through their bank accounts (when you buy an app Apple collects the money, then forwards it minus their cut to the developer), using "paying" here is an outrageous claim if I've ever seen one. Developers earned that money from their customers. Apple is merely an intermediary in this transaction.
The matter of Apple adding a feature that partially or totally obsoletes a third-party app is... complicated. Let's just say that if Apple couldn't do so, the missing features would soon become omissions, and buying out the third-party app is not always appropriate. The computing landscape evolves (be it the need for concurrency in this multi-core era, the new user interface paradigms, network and broadband availability which makes browser's offline modes look stupid nowadays, user expectations wrt to media sync, to integration with well-known services like Google or Flickr, to app workflow) and applications have to evolve with them; these evolutions include the changing scope of what an operating encompasses: what the browser was yesterday (remember when IE got included for free in Windows? Good times), reading list is today. However, the one-two punch of "I'm going to allow users to save synced bookmarks to read later. You don't mind?" then "hey I'm going to remove your offline content now" sure is worrying. Many more are affected by the latter in fact.
I agree with the sentiment and this has always put me off developing anything for iOS. Well that and the fact you have to write in objective-c or something that will compile into it.
I don't see iOS as solely an operating system though. It is more an appliance, out of the box you are getting a set of applications to achieve the common tasks you will use your phone/tablet for. They continually add features they find people will commonly use who's ideas no doubt come from other apps and operating systems.
Microsoft got all the anti-trust issues because at the time there was a clear cut what an OS should be and what it shouldn't. Since then Linux distributions and OS X have started to contain everything you need for a full computing experience, the lines are blurred much more than before. Can you imagine getting an OS without a web browser built in now. I can't see Microsoft getting into legal issues again now the competition bundles so much together.
I strongly believe that the current problems with InstaPaper are just more like some unseen bugs, as Apple won't get any real benefit from that. It seems very unlikely that Apple would put an extra complicated 'cleaning' algorithm just to keep Instapaper out of business, and neither are Apple's consumers going to upgrade to iOS5 just to get rid of InstaPaper app. I just hope it gets fixed soon for the better of the people. But again I never said that Apple never replicates popular apps to give them a run for money.
Every sometime Apple does replicates a popular App, but it keeps the healthy competition alive, I think of it more like breaking the monopoly, so that the original creator is continuously forced to innovate to something new instead of going for a retirement. In fact this is the way Apple works, thats how Mac came to life killing its own previous generations of computers like Lisa and Apple II.
I believe Apple's philosophy has always been like, they just don't give the better from what we have right now, they extract the maximum out of what the current technology can offer and put it on the table and then let the followers follow. Even if that means eating your children and siblings.
So, if you replace the image of King with King Cobra, it would make more sense.
I'm sorry to see such a well regarded blogger exhibiting such strong cognitive dissonance. If the environment is bad for developers now then it is bad for users later. You can't have your cake and eat it too.
Your article talks about the "Apple's Three Laws of Developers". I looked into the link but found to be another composition by another blog. Is the "Apple's Three Laws of Developers" really official given by Apple? If it is, please give me a link that points to Apple's website/article indicating those facts.
My fundamental question, is the developer's or companies job is to develop useful application, deploy it get money. Android is a more open world. Where people make their apps as a carrier of google revenue ads. Google doesn't know how to make money out of their services other than pushing ads.
On the other hand, Apple reduced the cost of software in their platform and scaled it up to billions. In Windows platform, how many hundred bucks you're paying for prominent software? nobody cares anything other than their own products. For Windows, it's their own software, it's come on developers responsibility to ensure the quality of software they're delivering.
Connecting the devices, the users, the developers, the money these made apple profitable. What happened to android store? Amazon opened a different Android store where you can purchase and install apps other than from Google's market place. Who's making benefit out of it. If Amazon is employing better services, integration and adopt the same strategy those Apple follows now, then you would see a disruption.
People are obsessed with quality. Few pennies are not really matter for them. They want things to work.
developers also think in the same developers think about products and uses cases. I don't find big problems in the gatekeeper policy. I appreciate the freedom of web on the other hand, I respect the effort Apple put to make sure the apps works and ultimately they don't want to serve something which strike them back in their platform or devices? Would they? It's like coming my home, using my resources to setup a public announcement and making me piss off at it. Though Apple eying on the profit, we can't complain. At least they're providing good quality apps for us....
It's been a couple of years that I'm working as an iOS developer, and I have to add another side to your portrayal of iPhone world from dev perspective.
It is true that you have a master who owns the land where you live, and that you have to be careful of keeping a master happy, but one should remember that this feudalistic environment came after slavery and is improvement compared to earlier mobile systems.
Other good sides for developer are no memory leaks rule which Apple reinforce, and without which I just know from experience everything is not as good, because tight schedules always top quality in real world so putting line that can't be crossed is blessing. Than you have centralized shop, where your software will stand alongside of everyone else's and you know that every customer have to come to that particular shop. Hardware that doesn't change is huge thing, and every Android developer can confirm you that. Even when Apple made retina screen, they made sure that you can keep your pixels same (so you still refer to screen as 480x320, and if that screen happens to be double in size, you can and don't have to just use same images with postfix). And, ofcourse, when you develop for iPhone, you get app for iPad also with little effort.
Other things aside, it still pays off to be iOS developer, especially because market is crying for more senior developers and is prepared to pay more.
God, I hope Apple doesn't see that I'm talking about them to foreigners and whip me...
I understand the issues presented here but I don't understand how a company with apples model can avoid this issue.
You give millions of people access to an sdk for years and hope that no one comes up with some good ideas that you would want to bake into the OS.
I can't help but feel that if it wasn't instapaper that was the victim this would be a non starter.
What about all the mapping companies that have taken a huge hit from google. This is the way everything in the world works. If you have a good idea then the chances of it being improved upon or at least adopted by your competitors increases.
It is impossible to decide either way with issues like this. What if instapaper was poorly written and slow? Would it be ok to replace it then? What if apple had thought of this years ago before instapaper and only just implemented it.
I build apps myself but don't really have an issue with their policy. You agree to apples terms and conditions when you develop for the platform and you have a choice.
I would wager that if we looked at most major features of the OS in both android and iOS we would find large parts of them have been stolen / adapted from other peoples ideas and work.
"If Microsoft added a feature to Windows that duplicated a popular application's functionality, developers would be screaming bloody murder"
This is a ridiculous statement. What about when Microsoft added Windows Messenger when there were other popular alternatives? What about when Microsoft created Security Essentials when there were other popular alternatives? What about when Microsoft bundled Internet Explorer when there was another popular alternative? (You could argue that people were up in arms about it at the time, *but* IE is still bundled with Windows.) What about when Microsoft added the ability to burn CDs directly into Windows? What about when Microsoft added the ability to take screenshots? What about when Microsoft added Windows Movie Maker? The list goes on and on...
I'm not disagreeing that it sucks for the developer who has created a product only to have it crushed when the OS has a similar feature by default. I'm disagreeing with the idea that Microsoft would never do what Apple has done. Did I miss something? When did Microsoft become the good guy?
psepheroth, the "three laws" bit is a parody, as clearly stated in the article.
It is becoming clear... Apple does not sell hardware. They license it.
"Microsoft is a monopolist, Apple is not" r u freakin kidding me? Apple IS everything people always feared Microsoft would become. They just just had really great marketing, or whatever it took, to convince people that they aren't larger than Google, and that you will obey them at every turn, and that you will wait in line and shell out money when they say, or you will not be one of the coolest kids. Definitely not sticking up for MS, but Apple is the evil entity the Occupy Wall Street hippies should be protesting. Instead they'd probably all walk in traffic for a new iWhatever.
What's really most annoying is that the only way to protest against these policies is to use the press as a bludgeon until the "Council of Apple Elders" figures out that they've stepped too far. Case in point, the subscription kerfuffle earlier in the year was quite egregious in that they demanded to have the best price possible when selling content through their store. As much as I love Apple products, I do not think anyone would enjoy living in a world where one company can basically dictate policy like that just because of the position they hold in the market.
Gotta agree with Joefrey above. There's nothing I like better than haggling with a car salesman when it's time to get a car. Or, comparing prices for groceries... so I get eggs, crackers and tuna from Walmart, but tomatoes, ham and soap from Kroger. Yep, bargain hunting is my dream! Oh, and cutting coupons? Bliss! Air fares? I love 'em!
Why oh why ever would we consumers want an environment where the price is guaranteed to be lowest?
A very long time ago I bought one of the early Mac models as my first computer. At the time it was great; I got a student discount for it so it was comparable to most of the other computers on the market, and I could get developer tools for it that included that holy grail of microcomputer programming back in the 80's: an integrated debugger!
Oh, sure, I liked my Mac, but there weren't many Mac programming jobs available in those days, what with John Sculley running Apple into the ground, so I made my living in the PC world, first on DOS, then in Windows. Eventually, Steve Jobs came back and resurrected Apple from the junk bin of tech history, but while I salute his genius, I now realize something about myself.
I am an adult now. I can make my own choices about what I put on my own devices, and what I program, and how I program it. If something gets screwed up, chances are that I screwed it up, and that I can fix it. I don't need the hand holding and the training wheels any more.
Remember the famous iconic commercial that introduced the Mac back in 1984? The one with all the faceless, mindless drones staring at the screen? The irony is that Apple is the company that has shackled the consumer in to faceless, mindless conformity, because that was how Steve Jobs liked it. The box was always closed, because Steve could never bear to open it to anyone else.
So farewell and rest in peace, Steve. You really did change the world, and I salute your genius and your accomplishments. But I refuse to drink the Kool-Aid.
Isn't this where Windows 8 is heading? It is scary stuff.
If Microsoft added a feature to Windows that duplicated a popular application's functionality, developers would be screaming bloody murder and rioting in the, er, blogs and web forums.
Well, maybe the ones who just got put out of business would be. But who the hell cares about them? Do they have some sort of right to be effectively subsidized by the core OS never improving in a way that obsoletes their product?
OSes don't exist to make developers money. They exist to make money for the producer. And they do that by making users happy, because then users will choose that OS rather than the competing platforms.
Users are not happy that they need "your" app (Instapaper or whatever) to read something offline. Users are happy when they system comes with a good tool for that.
(Also, for information's sake, are you new to following Apple?
Because Apple's always done this sort of thing before. A lot.
It's commonplace - remember Stuffit? Nope? Indeed, because nobody's bought it in years, since OSX included compression and archiving in 10.3 rather than bundling Stuffit's free version.
And Microsoft does it too - who buys or even installs the "free" WinZip anymore, now that Windows has built-in Zip support? The ten people who need some special feature that the base OS doesn't include [and who don't prefer 7zip].
It's universal because it's such an obvious idea, and so good for end-users.
Dave Haynes' examples are even better - MSSE is brilliant, and I don't care if the people at Symantec and Kaspersky don't like it... Actually, having used their products, I hope they choke.)
(Also, more directly on point - "serving at the pleasure of the king" in the sense that "the OS might incorporate your functionality" is universal.
There's no OS where that's impossible; Windows does it, though not quite as often.
Android phone sellers can do it, as they want. Google sure will.)
I'm pretty amazed you think Microsoft has never done this. They have for years and far worse. In fact they have been sued multiple times for just that.
IPhone's success is largely attributed to great quality of apps available in AppStore and Apple needs to be really little open on there popular AppStore otherwise they could lose the race with Android getting popular and getting more application, games and utility than currently available in Iphone.
How substring method works in Java
Even though there are some hassles involved, the comparative freedom of Android makes it feel more simpatico to me.
I like physical keyboards. I like that I can load SL4A and lash together scripts in Python or Ruby right on the device. I like that I have access to the file system. I like that I can tweak the home screen to bring the stuff *I* care about front and center, with widgets and even third-party UI replacements.
It can be a pain to get everything set up the way I like it, but to me it's just the same type of deal as provisioning a new Windows or Linux box.
There is a fine line between rigidly enforcing your standard and becoming a tyrant.
If Apple continues to be too Draconian in its policies they will simply drive developers away from their platform.
Why bother jumping through all of their hoops like licensing the Dev kit,learning Objective C, provisioning an app, blah blah blah when ...
You could simply create a Mobile version of your Web App using a bolt-on library like iWebKit?
Contrary to your claim in this article, Microsoft has done the same thing. Two examples: built in zip compression, and free anti virus software. There are other examples. If you don't want to be copied, patent. If your software is non-obvious, do you really have something to get upset over?
"I consider the iPhone the single most insidious piece of technology in human history.
It's single-handedly gotten everyone comfortable with the idea of walled gardens and not having complete control of their hardware."
This is really stupid considering the history of carrier control over their hardware.
Being in the court of the king is not a problem; provided you have the option to leave and you don’t lose your stately home by defecting to another king.
The problem is that the king has locked developer in by having an API and language that is so different to any other kingdom.
Users are locked in to a lesser extent by having to rebuy all their apps (and music) if they move to another kingdom.
So for new king to get a large kingdom, what about the new king giving free credits to buy apps to any users to move other and making it as easy as possible for a developer to move as well?
As a developer you could implement a web app instead of an iPhone app; however that is like being a mouse that sits until the king’s table eating some of the crumbs, rather than being a servant that gets to eat the prime left over food.
With Windows you can open zip files, mount virtual drives, create DVDs, automatically shuffle your Desktop background on a timer, and with Security Essentials, you can also scan for threats. These were all things that you used to have to install a third-party application to perform. I don't see how this is any different than Apple implementing the same functionality as a third-party app into its OS.
Mexicotom and Todd Janes are right. I remember when these things used to require 3rd-party apps on Windows: zip compression, anti-virus software, virtual drives, DVD burning, Desktop background shuffling, and the list goes on.
In fairness, Instapaper relies on an extremely basic idea which makes sense for Apple (or anyone) to incorporate as a built-in feature.