|Everybody stand back, I shall perform wonders.|
As an appetizer, Apple recently updated its app developer's license...again. This time, the most notable change is a section banning any undocumented or unapproved APIs. Why is this such a big deal? Adobe was about to release a feature in CS3 that would allow users of Flash to export their Flash applications to iPhone. This is primarily because the iPhone does not, and will not, support Flash in any way, shape, or form, so all Adobe is doing is looking to get its piece of the pie. Sounds reasonable, right? Well Apple goes and bans any apps made with cross-compilers, destroying any chance Adobe had at getting into the iPhone. This is a big deal because Apple is yet again closing themselves in. The standard convention is that if you want programmers or users to utilize your program, the axiom is to put in the compatibility yourself, not force users to work around your walls. With the new terms, Apple is saying you either develop apps on our platform or on the mobile web platform, nothing else. We don't care whether you spent hundreds of dollars on Flash, or whether you spent years learning this platform or that. We want to close you out so we can seem superior and awesome. Jason Kincaid from TechCrunch sums it up pretty well:
If it wasn’t abundantly clear before, it certainly is now: Apple is playing dirty. It doesn’t care what the developer community thinks. It has the users, it has the media’s undying love, and it has an incredibly impressive line of products. If a developer decides to quit the iPhone over this move, that just means less competition for the rest of the developers looking to capitalize on the flourishing platform. The media may pick up on the story briefly, but most people don’t care, so it’ll move on. And the iPhone will keep selling like hotcakes.Well have fun Apple, because developers get pissed off when stuff like this happens, and though Apple will probably not be affected too much, it just goes to show that Steve Jobs sees himself as so high that he flies above morality itself.
Well if Apple being above morality was bad, just wait for the main course. As most know, the iPhone OS 4.0 was the center of a recent presentation by Apple, outlining the new features in the update and so on. Interestingly enough, almost every single feature they introduced I already have on my jailbroken iPod Touch. So much for creativity. Anyway, the iAd platform is probably the epitome of bad news. App developers will be allowed to annoy users with fully interactive HTML5 ads, and these ads will have access to all the same APIs the app itself can access, including the accelerometers, GPS, and other stuff. In and of itself, this is a bad idea because advertisements that are fully disruptive, meaning right up in your face, not able to do anything until it's over ad, not unlike websites that force you to view an ad for five seconds before going to the site, except it is unlikely a "Skip to Site" button will exist. Anyway, other than a completely trashed user experience, it is what Steve Jobs says that really pisses me off.
From paidContent.org: “We weren’t the first to this [multi-tasking], but we will be the best [...] We think most of the mobile advertising really sucks […] We thought we might be able to make some contributions.” If the tone of those three sentences do not scream elitism, I don't know what does. He literally says that everybody else sucks, so Apple is deciding to jump in with its superior technology and stick in its two cents, or in this case thousands of dollars. Also, Jobs rants on how apps are the way to go, because nobody is searching on their iPhone anymore, even though that is blatantly incorrect. Google search alone accounts for more than half of all iPhone web traffic. And that number only drops to 30% when you consider all smartphones instead of just iPhone. He goes on to say “We have figured out how to do interactivity and video content without ever taking you out of the app. People will be a lot more interested in clicking on these because they don’t have to find their way back to the app.” First off, it took them this long to figure out how to do stuff in an app without leaving that app. That's just sad in and of itself. Furthermore, will anybody who actually clicked on an annoying ad please raise their hand. As far back as I can remember, the only things I ever clicked on ads for were products I already knew existed! And worst of all: analysts actually think the iPhone will kill Google search.
Well, just another day in heaven at Apple, because apparently they are superior to everybody else and think they can do whatever they want, even if it is against moral standards and known statistics. Seriously, Apple needs to realize that Google is not going away anytime soon, and it would be more profitable for them to work off of Google rather than directly compete against them. Apple is entering a market that Google has dominated for many years now, and if they think they have a chance, they are dead wrong, especially as Google explores more of Apple's markets with mounting success.