Another Take on iPhone App Approval

By  |  Tuesday, August 25, 2009 at 9:00 am

Facebook ApprovedJoe Hewitt, the author of the excellent Facebook app for the iPhone, has a straightforward fix for all the woes of Apple’s App approval process: eliminate it.

Does that sound scary to you, imagining a world in which any developer can just publish an app to your little touch screen computer without Apple’s saintly reviewers scrubbing it of all evil first? Well, it shouldn’t, because there is this thing called the World Wide Web which already works that way, and it has served millions and millions of people quite well for a long time now.

Oh, but you say that iPhone apps are different, because they run native code and can do scary things that web pages can’t? Again, you’re wrong, because iPhone apps are sandboxed and have scarcely any more privileges than a web app. About the only scary thing they can do outside the sandbox is access your address book, but Apple can easily fix that by requiring they ask permission first, just like they must do to track your location.

Hewitt’s post is measured, not extremist, and makes multiple good points. Seems like the chances of app approval going away in the short term are virtually nil–but in the long run, it could happen, in part because it may simply not be a sustainable model for software distribution.


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1 Comments For This Post

  1. Backlin Says:

    All of those points are extremely valid, especially about the sandboxing of apps.

    Unfortunately, since Apple claims the App Store as its own, they get the only say in what goes through and what doesn’t. The best thing to do is what Joe is doing, speaking up and against the rather messed up screening process (and whether those guidelines even mean anything). It would probably be in Apple’s best interest to listen to its customers.

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