Engadget’s clear message to Apple

What a great column Engadget editor-at-large Ryan Block wrote today about Apple’s overshitty way of treating developers (and indirectly users). The column is spot on. Obviously, I don’t expect Apple to reply directly. You know what? I don’t even expect Apple to change anything at all. The only thing I expect is the fall of Apple’s supremacy in the new-generation-mobile-device-business(aka Android is coming!!!).

The full column can be read here but I wanted to give you a little test of it.

So it seems to me, you have two possible courses of action to clean up this mess, Apple: one, the bare minimum of courtesy and respect for its developers, and the other, full-on-righteous. If absolutely nothing else, you need to post some very clear, very easily interpreted guidelines as to what will and will not fly in the App Store. No more mystery, no more concern as to whether the investment associated with developing a program will be for naught if some faceless App Store approval technician semi-arbitrarily decides to hit reject. Just lay it out for all to bear and follow. Sure, there will be a lot of hating going on when Apple says in explicit terms that Mozilla has zero hope of ever getting Firefox on the iPhone, but at least the crippling uncertainty is removed from the equation. You shouldn’t have to be one of the hallowed few approved by the iFund to be certain before you start work on your app that it will be approved.

Now, if you want to do the right thing — the thing that may ultimately keep you out of some grumpy developer’s class-action lawsuit, the thing that will take away Android’s biggest consumer appeal right now — you’ll will simply stop filtering apps based on content, and only look for the kind of code Steve specifically promised to protect users against in the first place: grossly buggy and broken, malicious, or otherwise evil. I’m not exactly convinced of the latter’s likelihood, but closed market or open, at a certain point this whole thing becomes about consistency and reliability, and right now you’ve got neither to wave in your defense, Apple.

In the meantime, groups like the iPhone Dev Team will continue to carry the torch for jailbreaking, hacking, and unauthorized app development. Hell, jailbroken development will even likely gain steam as increasing numbers of users can’t find enough apps of any real utility on the official App Store. Even big companies like Sling Media have taken to working around the walled-garden. So here’s to doing good by all the good people willing to invest in your platform, and to the simple kind of change that Apple, as a company, can make today if only you think a little harder about tomorrow — and everyone living in it with an iPhone or iPod touch.

Great job, Ryan!