We’ve talked about how Apple’s restrictive actions could end up turning away developers from creating apps for the iPhone. Though I know many of the movers and shakers at Apple read this column religiously, they did not heed my warning, and went quite the opposite way.
Apple recently announced that they will change the software development license so that developers can only use three tools to create apps instead of the myriad of tools currently being used. Many developers now use tools that they have had experience with or that have specific capabilities, like a physics engine. What makes the least sense is that the type of app most likely to suffer from the new restrictions are games, the app store’s bread and butter.
So this leads to the question of why. Why disenfranchise developers who are creating apps for the iPhone instead of Google’s Android or another platform, and why risk lowering the quality of apps by forcing developers to create with a tool they are not comfortable using? Apple has claimed that the change will improve the quality of apps in the app store. That reasoning is confusing, however, because Apple was already free to reject any app without really needing to supply an explanation. Isn’t that the most effective means of quality control? From a developer standpoint, Apple’s new restrictions are allegorical to developers only being allowed to wear wool socks when working on an application.
The real impetus behind Apple’s new policy may be the imminent release of Adobe’s Flash CS5, which had a Flash-to-iPhone compiler as one of it’s major features. Apple might as well have targeted Flash specifically in the wording of the iPhone Program Developer Agreement. I don’t know what Adobe did to piss Apple off, but it must’ve been bad. Like a Martin Brodeur sex affair bad.
Apple should use history as precedent. Many developers ran for the hills when Microsoft started clamping down on developers, and Apple benefited big from developer’s desires just to get away from Microsoft. Apple has definitely been taking a public image beating in the past year. They were always the little guy that put the consumer first, but now it is becoming readily apparent that with more power comes more opportunity to abuse that power, an avenue we find Apple increasingly going down.
Tax season is over and some of us have a little more in our bank accounts than we anticipated. Thinking you may want to plan a little summer getaway with that extra cash, we give you three great travel apps.
Wanderlust: The only app in the store that supports in-app flight bookings. With perhaps the most comprehensive worldwide airfare search today, Wanderlust searches different combinations of 400 airlines that save it’s savvy user up to 60 percent. For those traveling in Europe and Asia, Wanderlust includes low cost carriers, some of which have flights for as little as $10. The app features a powerful sorting and filtering engine and displays full prices of flights, including hidden fees, to ensure users find exactly what they’re looking for at the best rate. The app’s easy interface makes Wanderlust a must own for iPhone users to book the best flight without a travel agent. [rating:4/5]
Babelingo: The perfect linguistic companion, Babelingo has 300 commonly used phrases in 11 languages, presented both in the native language and phonetically for users. Selections can be made based off by situation cohorts, so users can select shopping, and then go through a list of phrases that best suit their situation. Babelingo’s search function enables users with a specific phrase in mind to search that phrase, and find the nearest translation in the desired language. The care put into Babelingo’s translations is what really sets the app apart, as experts of each of the languages have ensured that all of the translations are completely accurate. Find a phrase, speak it phonetically, and get what you want. It’s that simple. [rating:3.5/5]
Frommer’s Travel Tools: Whether by their own merit or through crude Eurotrip jokes, Frommer’s has become a name synonymous with travel. Now they have an excellent app to add to the resume. The app’s appeal is not necessarily that any of the tools are extraordinary, but to have so many quality tools in one location makes it a traveler’s best friend. Tools include a global tip calculator for different tipping customs in different regions, a customizable packing list, using your own pictures to create postcards to make friends and family jealous, currency, unit, and time converters, city guides, and even a flashlight. If you have to have one travel app, this should be it. [rating:4/5]