Why 2020 might be… like 1984
Today I decided (for the 10th time) to re-examine iOS as a potential development platform for BlackJack Apps. I got as far as the free registration to get access to developer tutorials, when I read the agreement. I glanced over it, and reacted the same way I did months ago. Revulsion. As an iOS developer, you are owned by Apple. They can remove your app, they can even not accept your app for no reason, and their maximum liability to developers is $50. Why $50? What could a developer possibly do to reclaim their life with $50?
In effect, Apple has every right to remove Rovio’s Angry Birds, copy it, and upload their own version. I’m not even joking. They don’t even need to ask.
I love the mac, and I love Snow Leopard. I also like Lion. I am afraid of iOS, and the direction they are taking it. iOS is the future of Apple, because the mobile OS is the future of our world. And in this new world, Apple will have unchallenged control over every app made for their devices. This was not so in the previous desktop era, where developers had a direct relationship with their customers, and could sell their application anywhere and anyhow they wanted. Without this ability developers are slaves to current trends, being politically correct, and generally not questioning the status quo. In fact, the status quo will by all means be defined by Apple.
In essence, if iOS was the only mobile platform available, the future of the world would be owned by Apple, in no metaphorical terms. There would be no place for our beloved Winamp of the 90′s, no open-source initiatives, no VLC media player. There will be iTunes and iPod. Open-source software cannot be used in iOS because iOS is not compatible with the GNU public license. That’s right, iOS is not open-source friendly. The approved tools will be distributed to you in a timely fashion. You will accept them. And you will be thankful.
Please note that if you are an iOS user, I do understand the reasons why you love your iDevice. But you need to realise that you can enable or disable companies to or from using features, adopting fairer ethics, and designing the future, just as easily as you can enable or disable the recycling of garbage, or the saving of tap-water. It is you and your influence no matter how small that ultimately decides what kind of future we will live in. So quash that fanboy voice in your head because there are larger issues at play.
To conclude, I don’t ask that you throw your iDevice away, I do ask that you raise your voice, and become aware. We can no longer be oblivious to technology, and the politics behind it. Your voice is really the only voice that matters, because you are human, and companies don’t sell products to non-human entities. Or stay quiet and thank the stars that there is the sense of competition in the winds, moved by a few new open frontiers, and developers that still believe in freedom.
P.S. you are not allowed to talk about the specifics of the Apple developers terms of agreements publicly.