Chris Alexander

On Engineering

Developing For The iPhone

11th August, 2009

So, the iPhone. A brilliant device to hold in your hand, excellent to interact with, with a wide variety of features and an even wider variety of applications to choose from. Despite being slightly overrated and ludicrously expensive, for image-savvy social types it’s the must-have portable do-everything-and-maybe-even-make-calls device.

For a long time now I’ve been thinking of building iPhone applications, and had quite a few decent ideas for some, and even got some code laid down a couple of times. But every single time something happens and I drop the project quicker than a possessed rabid burning rat.

The reason? Apple can’t seem to make up its mind about what it’s going to let in and not let in to the app store. Sometimes it doesn’t let one in then changes its mind, other times it lets one in then takes them out again (sometimes rightly), sometimes it doesn’t block competitors and sometimes it very much does. Even Google have had to work-around the App Store’s haphazard approach to content approval.

So how does this affect me? Simple, really. I don’t want to put my time and effort (although I’m not brave enough to risk my company on it) on an application that is going to be subjected to arbitrary rules governing whether or not my code is ever displayed to users. Sure I can follow guidelines, but as we’ve seen those seem to have almost exactly no effect on the probability of your application actually making it into the store. I’d much rather choose an open platform (say for example the web, or Symbian or Android for mobile) where I know my app will be available to people to actually download and use rather than my hours of effort being wasted.