More than 100 million applications have been downloaded from the App Store since the launch of Apple’s 3G iPhone two months ago.
This landmark was announced today to a chorus of iPhone programmers voicing their displeasure over Apple’s unclear and seemingly arbitrary “approval” policy.
Fraser Speirs, developer of the popular Exposure program for the iPhone, even went as far as declaring he would not make any further submissions to the App Store until sweeping changes were made.
“I will never write another iPhone application for the App Store as currently constituted,” he said on his blog.
He added that while he isn’t pulling Exposure from the store, he isn’t “going to invest time and money into new ideas for the iPhone until this mess is resolved”.
Apple said today that more than 3,000 applications are currently available on the App Store, with over 90 per cent priced at less than USD $10 and more than 600 offered for free.
However, its approval policy has already left developers of completed iPhone apps with programs they are unable to distribute after getting an official rejection letter.
Among those refused recently is Podcaster, which despite following official guidelines fell foul of Apple because it duplicated iTunes’ functionality.
This is despite other software – calculator and weather apps – that also duplicate Apple’s being approved.
Another reject is Pull My Finger, which was judged to be too tasteless for customers.
Apple has decided it will not be allowing any tethering applications in the AppStore.
What is angering many developers is that even following Apple’s guidelines to the letter is no guarantee their apps will be approved.
In Speirs’ words, “writing software is a serious investment of time and energy".
Yet he says Apple’s “current practice of rejecting certain applications at the final hurdle – submission to the App Store – is disastrous for investor confidence”.
“Developers are investing time and resources in the App Store marketplace and, if developers aren’t confident, they won’t invest in it.
“If developers – and serious developers at that – don’t invest, what’s the point?” he asks.
Speirs suggests Apple perhaps wants the App Store to be a “museum of poorly-designed nibware written by dilettante Mac OS X/iPhone OS switcher-developers and hobbyist students”.
He adds: “That’s what will happen if companies who intend to invest serious resources in bringing an original idea to the App Store are denied a reasonable level of confidence in their expectation of profit.”
Speirs goes on to make some suggestion for improving the current situation.
With Apple celebrating the 100 millionth download mark it may be in no mood to appease disgruntled developers, but it would do well to pay some attention to their comments.
Whoppee cushion apps may not be to everyone’s taste but taking an approach smacking of censorship has an equally bad smell about it.
Please let us know your thoughts on the subject.