Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Apple Lets Podcaster In - What Changed at Apple?

We've heard the stories about Apple's secrecy and it sort of went insane in the early days of the iPhone SDK with the nondisclosure agreements.  And when Apple finally dropped the NDA, developers were generally happy (users probably were affected much).

Well, you might not have know that an app called Podcaster was rejected and because of the NDA, the developer couldn't well talk about it much.  It was a big story.  You can google for details if you want to learn more about it.

Well, Apple has finally approved Podcaster.  Originally, it was rejected for duplicating a function on the iPhone -  well, eventually, an iPhone update on the iTunes allow iPhone users to wirelessly download podcasts, very much like what Podcaster does.

Macworld is just as baffled by this change of heart at Cupertino as we are.  They believe it's a removal of a feature in the original Podcaster app or that RSS Player, the new name for Podcaster, slipped through without Apple noticing.

I don't think those possibilities are likely.  Apple isn't stupid.  Well, okay, anyone can drop the ball at the gate.  I think it's more likely one of the reasons below or a combination of them all:

  • The iPhone platform has matured enough where Apple is comfortable about the app landscape and features that it might include with the iPhone and iPod Touch in the future.  Apple probably wanted to get a feel for the how they want to manage the app store.  At the time, Apple was also dealing with a really bad MobileMe issue.
  • Likely anything at Apple, they don't just open the flood gate.  Things tend to trickle out at Apple.  First web apps.  Then iPhone SDK a year later.  Lifting the NDA months after that.  Finally RSS Player.
  • Apple has recently allowed competing Web browsers into the app store.  It's conceivable that Apple will let other applications that might duplicate features that already exist on the iPhone be made available.  Personally, I'm looking forward to the Google app include gTalk and gmail.  
  • Competition.  Android Market should be out of beta soon.  Pre will offer a great challenge given the number of old Apple folks there - we could be looking at an app store with SDK similar to the iPhone.  RIM will soon make its app store available for the Blackberries and I'm sure Microsoft won't be too far off with their own implementations.  Apple could be looking at the market and realize that they need to be more open than they otherwise would have liked.
  • Money.  More paid apps, more revenues for Apple.  
  • Learn from the past.  Instead of shutting folks out, Apple might realize it's better to work with developers.  
As someone who relies on his iPhone and Touch more and more, I am very glad at this surprising development.  Whatever the reasons are, iPhone mobile folks have a brighter future to look forward to.  Now, if we can't get an iPod Tablet, then my mobile world will be perfect.

Via Macworld

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