Report: Apple may not restrict free iPhone apps

“In spite of fears that Apple may impose tight restrictions on third-party iPhone [and iPod touch] applications developed with its upcoming SDK, the company may loosen those restrictions for free programs,” Electronista reports.

Electronista’s source “claims that free applications are not subject to the same rules that will guide paid software downloads. In this model, free software is unlikely to be subject to much if any scrutiny by Apple,” Electronista reports.

“This system will change substantially for paid apps, however,” Electronista reports. Apple will take an “approach is similar both to its practices with the iTunes Store as well as to conventional mobile application services, [and] collect a share of the sales price.”

Full article here.


  1. What Jimbo said … sounds like a lot of guessing.
    Still, I’d expect Apple to want to be paid for the service of a) checking out and b) distributing software, just not a whole lot. They charge less than a dollar to share music, TV and movies, suggesting that most of “Apple’s share” would be a charge for testing the software to a) confirm it does what it claims and b) doesn’t do “hidden” things most users might object to.

  2. All along, I’ve been guessing that Apple would allow a 2-tiered development model. The one which needs to be distributed via iTunes allows full access to the iPhone features while the one that is user installed allows only limited access to iPhone features. That way, anyone can develop and install iPhone apps but can’t do much damage because the apps are restricted. Companies can develop and integrate iPhone to their systems without the inconvenience of having to request an approval from Apple. However, for apps that need full access, the developers need Apple to certify the security and compatibility of the apps.

  3. I think I have it. Apple’s going to restrict applications very tightly except when they don’t. Then they won’t unless they do. Some applications need to be tightly controlled and some only need to be loosely restricted. Some will be grounded for two weeks except for going to the Homecoming Dance which we already bought the dress for. And why can’t you be more like your sister?

  4. Apple shouldn’t restrict or control third party apps for the iPhone period!

    All they have to do is make sure their iPhone OS is secure then set up certain restrictions notifying the user when a sandboxed app wants to do something, like accessing your private encrypted info, contacting the internet or other sensitive or costly operation.

    Simple as that.

    Allow once, Allow for today, Allow forever, or Deny.

    Dashboard advisory deamon running in OS X that contacts Apple twice daily to verify your OS X widgets is just a invasion of privacy.

    If OS X was secure like it’s supposed to be, give users the control of trust, there would be no need to verify widgets.

    It’s because Apple is nosey that it does.

  5. I can’t believe that even paid applications will be available only through the iTunes store. Unless, of course, Apple really WANTS to make some hungry, shyster lawyer rich when they lose the lawsuit. IBM lost this issue long ago when they wanted to control all the applications for the 360, and they lost big-time. Apple, if they’re smart (and last time I looked, they were), does NOT want to go down this road. It’s a dead end.

    mw: expect, as in “Expect lawsuits. Lots of ’em.”

  6. it is about att getting their piece

    Make the spectrum public property and all this goes away

    we the public want free air then Apple can sell to everyone and allow anything

    not get sued by att

    in 4 years the contract ends and aapl is worth 1000 a share

  7. And before any of you say my idea is stupid and smacks of Vista’s security. Let me say this.

    Giving the user the ability to set the trust level of a app is very important. Once a user downloads a iPhone app from someplace, under my proposal iPhone OS X will tell the user what that app is attempting to do, and give the user the ability to set the trust of that app.

    Once a user does this, trusts the source and the app. The permission given it can be set pernamently, therefore no annoying “nag screens” everytime the app is used.

    Of course if the user wants to, he/she can make the iPhone OS X tell everytime a app attempts to do something.

    The user has control.

    Right now Apple does what they think is right and non-annoying. But they take control away from users, invade their privacy by “checking” and tying up costly data transfers with “auto-checks” so they can collect money from these third party companies.

    Free Open Source software gets shut out and a lot of innovation and advancement gets ignored because they don’t subscribe to a commercial interest like Apple.

    So my proposal will work just as well for Open Source and Commercial software for the iPhone.

    Just restrict or notify what a iPhone could do to the user. They can decide for themselves.

    It’s not like a lot of things can go wrong on a iPhone. Either it can access your private data, run up a phone or data bill or delete everything. Not much.

  8. I gotta tell ya’, I’m going to look for some vetting organization before I install anything on my iPhone, anyway. If not Apple, then someone else. I’ll be danged if I’m going to ruin my phone just to play Legend of Zelda.

  9. What would be the difference in what Apple does with iPhone apps over what they do with movies, music and TV shows? They get a service fee for that from the labels and the movie studios too…

    If this rumor is true, I would analogize it so:

    Free apps : audio and video podcasts. Vast majority of A/V podcasts are free and more or less unrestricted.

    Shareware / Commercial apps : DRM’ed music and TV shows. Apple gets the same cut proportionally for apps as they do with music/shows/movies.

    After all, they’re already doing it with iPod games, so what’s the big deal?

  10. As I’m reading about software distribution of third party apps following the release of the SDK, I’m sort of mumbling to myself thinking, “Well maybe somebody will finally do what Apple should have done already – have a small app that will synchronize the To Do list (tasks) with the iPhone.” That has been one of my major gripes as a business user. It seems like such a simple thing; but then again I don’t know much about programming.

    And maybe now that the SDK is almost out the door, will Apple begin focusing on over the air synchronization? And will someone finally create a voice command program? Please, may it be so… and soon.

  11. Apple should leave third party iPhone apps alone, should not interfere with them and only set controls so the user doesn’t get data stolen or unnecessary charges.

    Most of all Apple should not cannibalize on a successful third party iPhone app by making their own copy/version.

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