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Source: Apple may not restrict free iPhone apps

updated 03:55 pm EST, Fri February 29, 2008

Apple and Free iPhone Apps

In spite of fears that Apple may impose tight restrictions on third-party iPhone applications developed with its upcoming SDK, the company may loosen those restrictions for free programs, Electronista has learned. Connected to the same sources which reported early access for select developers -- sources which have since been confirmed as accurate -- the new contact claims that free applications are not subject to the same rules that will guide paid software downloads. In this model, free software is unlikely to be subject to much if any scrutiny by Apple.

If accurate, the move is likely being made to encourage the development community for the iPhone as well as alternative business models that differ from services such as Handango, which often limit their downloads to paid content alone.

This system will change substantially for paid apps, however. In addition to a previously rumored review process and the necessity of sales through iTunes, Apple will reportedly take a portion of the cost of each app. The approach is similar both to its practices with the iTunes Store as well as to conventional mobile application services, many of which collect a share of the sales price as part of their core business models.

by MacNN Staff




  1. greenG4

    Joined: Dec 1969


    If true

    This works for me. I'll allow Apple to take 10% of my app. They just better not get greedy.

  1. danviento

    Joined: Dec 1969


    makes sense

    Apple takes a portion of the cost for hosting the apps. for sale on their site. I'd imagine that if they're allowing some apps. that are free that there would be some sort of Apple-Certified deal that went along with those it had tested and can be said not to have any problems with the phone.

    Do you think Apple would allow freeware apps to also carry such a logo? A part of me says that they would because they host them and it draws more eyeballs to their site and products and sponsors. A part of me says they woudn't necessarily, letting, perhaps, .Mac users post aps of this nature.

    What do you think?

  1. bfalchuk

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Not bad at all

    I think this is a good model. It's like how Handango works, but likely to be easier to use and probably more fair to developers (especially after Handango's announced increase in prices).

    I think it also will keep quality high as you have to be serious to a) be willing to spend, and b) get approved to get your software into the store.

    I just hope Apple doesn't censor functionality (e.g., rumored access to the dock connector for something like a GPS module, A2DP Bluetooth adapter, or Bluetooth connections to a GPS receiver)

  1. Flying Meat

    Joined: Dec 1969


    I do have a problem

    with this whole deal though. If iTunes is the only supported way to acquire and install iPhone apps, then there should not be a fee to commercial developers since this would be an Apple imposed requirement. Prominence on the store might be fee-worthy, but availability is not, if it is the only supported way to get your product out there.

    Free software is "sweet-sweet nectar," but if it's c*** that doesn't meet programming requirements and kills your iPhone, it probably should not even be made available.

    The quality standards (which theoretically) Apple would like to enforce through guidelines and testing should be applied equally across free and commercial offerings.

    Maybe that's all just me, but...

    I'm just sayin'.

  1. nhmlco

    Joined: Dec 1969


    No problem...

    No problem with Apple taking a bite, as in essence it's no different than any other business where you wholesale your product to a retailer and they mark it up.

  1. Peter Bonte

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Apple is reportedly taking 30-40% on music sales via iTunes, i don't think 10% is realistic. Also consider the $5 maximum price for the apps and signing up with a company like CD-baby. Soft-baby?

    $5 for a regular title, from that there is $2 for Apple, $1 for 'Soft-baby' and $2 for the independent programmer. Not that much but good titles can easily sell more than a million copy's via iTunes, its the perfect software store.

    10 million iPhone/Touch users in 2008, 20 million in 2009, 100 million in 2012 ??

  1. dmsimmer

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Subscription-based apps

    Some programs, such as Epocrates, use a yearly subscription method.

    As much as I hate that model, it would seem to benefit the developer.

  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969


    more of the same

    So, again, Apple's looking for more ways to cash in on the consumer. First it was the AT&T tie-in, so they get their monthly kick-back. Now they're making sure that if you spend a dime on software for your iPhone, they get their cut, too.

    Appears that Apple, when seeing how the phone market works, decided they didn't really want to change it, they just wanted their piece of it.

    BTW, this still doesn't answer the question about personal development. If you come up with a little app for yourself, can you install it yourself, or do you still have to go through Apple to get it posted so you can download it? A big question, esp. if you just don't want anyone to have it (sort of like a custom-built business app for your company).

  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Oh, and will Apple finally be opening up the iPhone to use it's 'disk'? Will the user be able to just connect the phone and get to the content, or are all documents going to go through iTunes as well?

  1. resuna

    Joined: Dec 1969


    require specific design?

    What kind of messed up legal system lets manufacturers get away with enforcing restrictions like that for use of a CPU?

    Yeh, I know, they can put any weird c*** they want to in purchase contracts, but holy mother of Franklin that's warped.

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