Archive for February 21, 2011

Monday, February 21, 2011

In-App Purchase Consequences

Marco Arment:

This would be a great guideline — developers should offer IAP to buy content, since it’s so easy for users that they’re likely to make more money overall with it. But forcing all app publishers with purchase systems outside of IAP to suddenly and completely adopt it in parallel has no apparent practical or pragmatic justification. Instead, it just looks like greed.

If in-app purchase is so great, publishers would adopt it voluntarily, and the market would determine how much extra customers are willing to pay for the convenience. He also expands on the point I made earlier today:

One issue is that this policy assumes that all apps are made by someone with the ability and authority to collect IAP payments on the service’s behalf, which isn’t the case for third-party clients using a service’s API.

If Twitter charged a subscription fee, or even sold any content whatsoever, no third-party Twitter clients would be permitted on the App Store, effectively preventing that entire market.

Arment, correctly I think, says it’s a mistake to focus on whether the policy is legal or 30% is “fair.” The consequence might well be to prevent the creation (or continued existence) of many potentially great apps, and that’s bad for customers, developers, and Apple.

Implementing In-App Purchase

Chris Adamson:

The benign and simplest explanation for all of this is that Apple has painted itself into a corner, that it hasn’t really thought through all these issues. And if that’s the case, something will have to give: a bulk-submission tool, lax review of products, or (ideally) an abandonment of the new rent-seeking policy.

Right now, even if Amazon wanted to give Apple 30%, it would have to manually enter each Kindle book into the iTunes Connect Web site and submit a screenshot showing it loaded into the Kindle app. Then wait for Apple to approve it. And this assumes that Apple will raise the limit for the number of SKUs that they support; if they don’t, it would not even be possible to make the Kindle app comply with the new guidelines.

Readability iOS App Rejected

Jim Dovey (via Manton Reece):

Having spoken with the developer, it transpires that there are no links and no exhortations to make purchases within the app. The cause of the rejection is a static-text label (in other words not a link) on the login screen…Just information. Nothing about payments, costs, or anything else. Just a small sentence so that people who download the app don’t immediately go “muh-huh?” After all, there’s not really any other indication in the app that it’s part of a web service, and we know that an awful lot of shoppers don’t read the app store blurb on the apps they download.

Readability’s response is to “go the other way…towards the web.” In this case, that’s their choice, but with a third-party client for another service (Dropbox, say) the app developer might not have the option of supporting in-app purchase. I don’t think people realize how many apps and services this could potentially affect. In theory, this means that even though Instapaper subscriptions don’t (yet) affect the app’s operation, the app will have to be re-engineered to support in-app purchase and give Apple a cut. Also consider that Readability provides some services for free, and yet because they also offer subscriptions, they will not be able to provide the free services in an app. This could apply to Dropbox, too. If storing and displaying your Web bookmarks is considered providing content, surely storing and displaying your files is, too.

I also liked this paragraph from a different post by Dovey:

When I purchase books from Apple’s iBookstore, they are providing a new service to me—the assembly and provision of an eBook. When I purchase one from Amazon or Kobo, Apple is providing no such service to me whatsoever. The argument that they have the right to claim some money because I’m using an Apple device is false, because I’ve already paid for that device—upwards of $700 in this case. I don’t get charged by Apple when I browse the internet or watch YouTube, so why does Apple need to take a cut when I download an eBook?

Verizon iPhone 4 Antenna


So the long-awaited Verizon iPhone 4 is finally here. It’s functionally the same as the GSM/UMTS iPhone 4 on AT&T, except significantly less prone to unintended signal attenuation from being held thanks to receive diversity through two cellular antennas. Battery life is the same or better than the AT&T iPhone 4, GPS is slightly more precise, Verizon lets you turn your phone into a WiFi hotspot if you pay the fare, and SMS concatenation even works on Verizon’s network. There’s really nothing to complain about at all or point out as being inordinate about the CDMA iPhone—it’s simply an iPhone 4 on Verizon’s network.

They measured the antenna’s signal attenuation and found that it’s less susceptible to the death grip, as expected. However, when not in a case the Verizon iPhone 4 is worse than all the tested phones except the AT&T iPhone 4. I still think the problems with the antenna design go farther than what’s been acknowledged. My father returned his iPhone 4 because, even in a case, the signal strength was much worse than his original iPhone (which generally has worse signal than my 3GS), to the point where it was unusable. Fingers crossed that iPhone 5’s antenna is better, because I’m guessing that soon I won’t be able to run the latest version of iOS, and I really want a better camera.