Sunday, September 28, 2008

iPhone NDA now means: ‘Never Develop Apps’

I didn’t come up with the idea to change the simile meaning of iPhone NDA (Non-Disclosure Agreement), but I admit that I do agree with the new connotation which is presented by Dan Moren from Macworld; NDA now has an all new meaning: ‘Never Develop Apps’.

Y’all know what have happened in the growing circle of App Store, the population of ‘flashlight’ applications have reach 6,325 and still counting on. While the more useful apps like
NetShare, Podcaster, MailWrangler, and the funny one: Pull My Finger have all been banned from App Store.

The frustration from the software developers are understandable, since they’ve put a lot of efforts and time to make good apps for iPhone/iPod Touch platform, and then easily rejected by Apple without a very good explanation. The one that isn’t understandable, is Apple’s decision on allowing or not an app to get into its App Store.

If you’ve read my previous posts regarding the apps I mentioned above, then you know how groundless are Apple’s decisions to reject entry for those apps. Few of the software developers have posted directly the email they’ve received from Victor Wang, Apple’s App Store watchman and App Store PR (Public Relations), to show the public and specially App Store consumers about the truth behind all banning acts.

But of course Apple doesn’t like what those software developers have done with the rejection emails/letters, posting them on the net for subject to become a laughing material by mean bloggers. So then Apple issued another statement (pictured on the left, click to enlarge it), which says those rejection emails/letters are covered by NDA, thus should never publish into public.

The stiff attitude of Apple on its App Store policy, didn’t make software developers lose their creativity to keep on distributing their apps, one in particular is the developer behind Podcaster, Alamerica. Alamerica founded a workaround to keep on selling Podcaster and make it legit, by offering ad hoc licenses (meant for development and testing) in return for a $10 donation. But then like everyone has predicted, Apple shut down the access to ad hoc license system soon after it became popular.

So now, there hasn’t been any new loop hole in App Store policy to fool the NDA or the rejection. Apple has finally put its iron fingers wrapped around App Store, and with software developers are more bounded with NDA than ever, they’ll be frightened to waste their efforts to write good apps for iPhone platform anymore.

The outcome are not that hard to imagine, it’s like what Jason Snell from
Macworld has put so nicely in his article: “But that’s not all. Some of them will turn to more open platforms, such as Google’s Android, and start taking their good ideas there. Which could transform phones running Android into full-featured devices that simply do more cool stuff than the iPhone, no matter how hard Apple tries to write its own software to catch up. Which could, in time, lead to the iPhone becoming a marginalized and limited product, all of its potential exhausted by the idiocy of Apple’s tight-fisted control of the App Store.”

Android’s Market doesn’t need to work hard to get everyone attention, because it’ll soon offer more apps that are wanted by the customers: fun yet useful apps. Ohkay, maybe I over grace the ‘useful’ purpose there. Because ‘fun’ has played more important role on our intuition to purchase an app, rather than what it can do for work.
Valleywag has pointed out a spot on argument about this that I very much agree with: “Because if you've ever watched a bunch of drunk twentysomethings playing with their phones in a nightclub, you know that stupid and entertaining often beats pretty and functional.”

So, have you get the idea of this new meaning of iPhone NDA? If not, then I strongly suggest you to take a look at this diagram of the NDA, made by those genius guys at Joy of Tech. ;-D Enjoy!

Sources are from:

[blogged with my Treo 750v]

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