The intent behind Apple’s policies always seemed consistent to me in the past. The policies themselves may have been opaque and sometimes confusing, and were often inconsistently and capriciously applied, but the intent behind them didn’t seem to change. I certainly didn’t agree with all the policies, but they at least seemed reasonable. I could respect them. Apple seemed to have integrity. With this change though, that’s no longer true. Apple has simply changed the policy for what apps are allowed to do to one that’s not only different, it has a different intent behind it.
It is no longer possible to rationalize that the intent is to benefit the consumer, though I’m sure there are those in the mothership who sincerely believe that forcing people into the Apple monoculture is good for them. Montgomerie closes with some thoughts on 1984. Apple is forcing a choice between excellence and freedom. If only Nixon could go to China, only Apple can build the Orwellian world.
More food for thought:
- Having read and thought about the guidelines, it seems clear to me that the intent is to ban viewer apps.
- What does Apple define as “content” and thus subject to the compulsions of section 11? What will be considered content tomorrow? What use are the guidelines, if even their intent is subject to change?
- Since all content must be available for purchase through Apple, this means that all content must be approved by Apple. Apple already bans certain types of content. It claims not to curate the allowed types, but this policy could change, and Apple would be in a position where it could enforce a content ban.
- If content includes digital services, apps that provide native interfaces for services such as Flickr, FogBugz, Lighthouse, Basecamp, and others would be banned.
Update: Hank Williams explores point #4 and the effect on service businesses.