Tag Archives: airfoil

The only 2 fixes for the iPhone platform

I let my iPhone developer account expire last week. Even though I had already stopped development on my iPhone projects, officially letting go of even the temptation to build for the iPhone platform has really helped me focus.

The Rogue Amoeba rejection for Airfoil Speakers Touch has been covered on Twitter and at Daring Fireball, but I think it’s easy to get distracted by legal technicalities and not the heart of the matter: as long as Apple is the gatekeeper, there will be bad decisions and apps that deserve to be approved will be rejected instead. For this reason the App Store cannot be fixed with incremental improvements.

There are only two possible solutions:

  • Accept all applications. Joe Hewitt, the developer of the Facebook application who this week also quit the App Store, has written well on this solution.
  • Allow applications to be installed on the phone without being listed in the App Store. Both Android and the Palm Pre support this model.

There is no third or fourth solution. There is no compromise or small improvement to the review process. Better transparency or tiered support options won’t help either. Without either of the above two changes, rejections will continue because in a subjective review process there will always be bad judgement calls. Some percentage of indie developers will abandon the iPhone either because the risk is too great or based on principle alone.

Let me take the second one (allow applications to be installed without being listed) because it plays directly to this Rogue Amoeba rejection. Rogue Amoeba is one of my favorite Mac companies, and Daniel Jalkut and I record Core Intuition using their Audio Hijack Pro app. It’s universally regarded as great software.

It might surprise you to find out that Audio Hijack Pro is not listed in the Apple Downloads site, though other Rogue Amoeba products such as Fission, Nicecast, and Airfoil are. I’m not sure Rogue Amoeba has ever spoken on the record about this, but Apple apparently doesn’t like the app and won’t list it. Maybe because you can use it to record copyrighted music? Who knows.

But it doesn’t matter because being rejected from Apple Downloads doesn’t mean you can’t make Mac software! It just means you have to market the software yourself. Rogue Amoeba has to work extra hard to get the word out about the app, but their business won’t fail just because Apple doesn’t give it their blessing.

This is so important for a small company. I want my software to fail because it sucks, or is buggy, or doesn’t have the right features, not because Apple can shut me down over a minor difference of opinion.

There are a lot of well-intentioned suggestions for improving the App Store, but the result will always be the same until we acknowledge the root problem. The only fix is for Apple to remove itself as gatekeeper, or let us route around them.

The Talk Show ad and porting to Windows

Episode 11 of “The Talk Show”:http://www.thetalkshow.net/ is up, and I’m happy to say that “Wii Transfer”:http://www.riverfold.com/software/wiitransfer/ is this week’s sponsor. Even if you’ve been subscribed since the first show, click over to see the new site design by “Airbag Industries”:http://airbagindustries.com/. It’s beautifully done and I tried to create an ad graphic that feels at home there.

For the Wii Transfer ad text I included “Only for Mac”, partly to discourage any Windows listeners from clicking and to set expectations that Wii Transfer is not a web site, but also because after a decade of being ignored I think Mac users like to be reminded that there is a bunch of great software just for them.

Earlier this month “Daniel Jalkut wrote about the unlikelihood of MarsEdit for Windows”:http://www.red-sweater.com/blog/394/blogging-from-windows:

“I love writing software for the Mac. If I had to write software for another platform, I probably wouldn’t be nearly as interested in doing it. Heck, I might work more on becoming a musician, or a designer, or one of the other many trades that I have an interest in. For that reason, the chances of MarsEdit for Windows are almost nil.”

I love that Mac indies are receiving so many “what about a Windows version?” requests. I get similar emails every couple weeks about Wii Transfer for Windows, and luckily there are a couple Windows or open source alternatives that I can point people to. (Some of them are even cross-platform and available for Mac, but they are of the “double click this Java .jar file” variety, so I don’t generally consider them direct competition.)

It used to feel strange getting these requests. I would respond with “maybe” and “unlikely”, suggesting that it’s probably not going to happen but leaving open the possibility, as Daniel did when he said “almost nil”. Then I realized — who am I kidding? — I’m never going to port this to Windows regardless of demand. Never. “With the right team”:http://www.vitalsource.com/ I enjoy working on cross-platform apps, just as I appreciate meetings, planning, and the other formalities (in moderation) that come with a more corporate environment. But Wii Transfer isn’t about any of that; it’s my vacation from the real world, and on my time I use and build for Macs.

Also read the Airfoil for Windows section of “Ars Technica’s interview with Paul Kafasis”:http://arstechnica.com/journals/apple.ars/2007/2/2/6863 from February.