The App Store: Grey Areas?

With Apple's highly successful release of the Application Store, the developers of such applications may find themselves in a predicament when it comes to the do's and don'ts. While reading the agreement of application development for the store, you will find many specific rules on what is, and isn't allowed.

TomTom, a top navigation company announced plans to release a special version of their software for the iPhone. Apple had explicitly mentioned in the agreement, that no 'turn-by-turn GPS software' can be released, however TomTom is still showing dedication to releasing the software.

Apple's rules have been causing mass confusion on the developer side, and can ultimately affect the iPhone market if this 'grey area' of rules remains.

With these rules not carved in stone, and not being enforced to the fullest, exceptions have now been proven to be made. An application recently slipped through Apple's cracks entitled 'NetShare', by Nullriver. This application allows you to tether your 3G or EDGE iPhone to your Mac, in turn allowing you to use your iPhone connection to access the web on your computer while on the go. Of course, tethering is also prohibited by Apple and many GSM providers. This time around the application made it on the App Store! Shortly after its public debut, NetShare was pulled down by the App Store authorities.


Whoops!

If Apple wants to end this developer confusion, and further enhance the usability of the iPhone, now may be a good time to reword the rules to allow more open and free development, which will ultimately give the consumers what they are craving.

Let's hear your opinions on this issue, Neowin!

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40 Comments

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If they can't get it from the Apple store then they're just going to Jailbreak their iPhone and get it elsewhere. I'm sure Apple would like to be more in control of their App Store then not.

Yes, yes... AT&T is evil but yet, Apple still accept the all the at&t rules in the worst way possible.

For example for other cellphone, this limiting are given by the specific blocked of the cellphone for example in some cellphone you cannot install any application using a cable connection, other you can't install any "dangerous" application (network restriction and such) and in other cases you can't install any application at all (such corporate cellphone). The advantage of this measure is you known about the restriction prior the purchase and not when you are in front of the apple store.

I thought att allowed teathering but you have to have the equivalent data package. The one that goes wit those 3g cards .

If apple keeps this up ill go with a windows mobile smartphone instead.

It's not Apple's restriction. AT&T is not allowing tethering on the iPhone 3g. I'd imagine, as Cara mentioned to me, that AT&T is trying to push their wireless broadband cards and service.

(azcodemonkey said @ #12.1)
It's not Apple's restriction. AT&T is not allowing tethering on the iPhone 3g. I'd imagine, as Cara mentioned to me, that AT&T is trying to push their wireless broadband cards and service.

AT&T are not the only phone provider selling the iPhone. Many other, around the world, allow tethering as well as things like TomTom. Plus, you can buy the thing unlocked (at least in Europe), so the argument that this is being enforced by the operators is invalid.

Apple are doing this to control what people do on their phones, nothing else. If it were Microsoft doing this, people would be frothing at the mouth.

yet ANOTHER example of why you should avoid crapple... the fanboys have gone quiet as they see their ivory tower turn to ****

Why yes good sir cause everyone is wide awake at almost 4 AM a good portion of the US is asleep. I do believe you'd be considered one of the worse type of fanboys trying to start a internet argument. Carry along and find something better to do.

Tethering isn't support because of AT&T NOT because Apple doesn't want you to tether. So take your anti-apple attitude elsewhere.

As far as a refund policy goes they should have "some" sort of refund policy set sure but they aren't required to do so nor have they stated anywhere that they will. I have never heard of another place offering refunds because of crappy software you pay for crap ass software on your Windows Mobile device it's up to the developer to give you a refund.

Neither the issue with the Turn by Turn nor Tethering and hell, the refund policy "issue" isn't any of apples responsibility / fault. It's just things you wish you had and we all do.

(Ricky Smith said @ #9.1)
Why yes good sir cause everyone is wide awake at almost 4 AM a good portion of the US is asleep. I do believe you'd be considered one of the worse type of fanboys trying to start a internet argument. Carry along and find something better to do.

Tethering isn't support because of AT&T NOT because Apple doesn't want you to tether. So take your anti-apple attitude elsewhere.

As far as a refund policy goes they should have "some" sort of refund policy set sure but they aren't required to do so nor have they stated anywhere that they will. I have never heard of another place offering refunds because of crappy software you pay for crap ass software on your Windows Mobile device it's up to the developer to give you a refund.

Neither the issue with the Turn by Turn nor Tethering and hell, the refund policy "issue" isn't any of apples responsibility / fault. It's just things you wish you had and we all do.

you know the US does not represent the whole world do you?
its morning here. go to sleep.

(Ricky Smith said @ #9.1)
As far as a refund policy goes they should have "some" sort of refund policy set sure but they aren't required to do so nor have they stated anywhere that they will. I have never heard of another place offering refunds because of crappy software you pay for crap ass software on your Windows Mobile device it's up to the developer to give you a refund.

Neither the issue with the Turn by Turn nor Tethering and hell, the refund policy "issue" isn't any of apples responsibility / fault. It's just things you wish you had and we all do.

Most Windows Mobile software can be tried before purchase (either shareware or trial versions before buying full commercial). This means that I could try out a 3rd party app to see if it does what I want it to do (and indeed actually works without crashing my phone) before I part with cash. Now I have an iPhone (unless jailbroken) I would have to buy the software without testing (unless it's free). This is entirely an Apple policy - I have been in email contact with an WM developer I used to beta test for, that I wondered if he was going to port to iPhone, he said he was working on it, but that the Apple Appstore policies were of great concern to him.

(Ricky Smith said @ #9.1)
Why yes good sir cause everyone is wide awake at almost 4 AM a good portion of the US is asleep. I do believe you'd be considered one of the worse type of fanboys trying to start a internet argument. Carry along and find something better to do.

???
so, all apple fans are American? What a stupid statement to make! You do know that you can buy apple products outside of the not so great U-S of A?

"Carry along"? carry what along? English please

(ZombieFly said @ #9.4)

???
so, all apple fans are American? What a stupid statement to make! You do know that you can buy apple products outside of the not so great U-S of A?

"Carry along"? carry what along? English please

his initial comment is still valid, as the first post is still a ridiculous piece of flame-bait.

the statement that tethering is not allowed because of at&t is bull****, it's not the only carrier int the world and the usa is not the only country in the world. In belgium tethering is very much allowed by the GSM providers and yet apple pulled the app here too.

(macf13nd said @ #9.5)
his initial comment is still valid, as the first post is still a ridiculous piece of flame-bait.

thanks

(ZombieFly said @ #9.4)

???
so, all apple fans are American? What a stupid statement to make! You do know that you can buy apple products outside of the not so great U-S of A?

"Carry along"? carry what along? English please

Well I guess some people will always find something to argue about. <shrugs> No where in my statement did I say that all Apple fans were American. So why don't you stop being so thick? I was pointing out that it was 4 AM and at 4 AM the whole US was more or less asleep, and for that matter the whole continent of North America and some of South America.

Some people need to lay off of the whole thing where if someone states something about the US they get attacked because apparently all americans are too stupid to realize that there's more countries than the US.

Why should AT&T not allow tethering?

Is this because you can purchase an "all you can eat" monthly data package, and they want to limit you to using it on your mobile?

If so, that would certainly make sense. But maybe what is needed to change the way their packages work...

MTN/Vodacom SA/Virgin Mobile SA/CellC SA ALL ALLOW tethering on their networks. But then again we only have per MB data packages... :-/

I'm pretty sure with Rogers Wireless, tethering involves exorbitant pay per use fees and not to mention, you can't tether an iPhone without jailbreaking it.

I want to see a better refund policy if you happen to try out an application that turns out to be totally crappy.

As for development, I want to be able to develop apps that can sit in the title bar, like the mail and chat notification that was once in the Installer.app. Ahh, good times.

It's not Apple saying you cant use TbT navigation. There are saying you can't use Google Maps for TbT navigation. It's a Google restriction not Apple's. If TomTom uses their own maps then its fine. The latest beta of the 2.1 software shows this.

It's also AT&T that do not allow tethering on their network. O2 allow tethering for example.

Grey Areas???

This "rules" are not rules, they are prohibitions (i have not read the agreement, but i take your word in the Turn-by-Turn software) for developers.

Imagine a Microsoft's agreement telling people what they are not allowed to write for its platforms...Media and people would jump to the jugular. It is increasingly strange how Apple is allowed to come up with things like this without getting PR problems.

If i were to develop something for the iPhone, and i'm a developer, i would not comply with this kind of tight ruling when it comes to telling programmers what they are not allow to develop as if it were bad or something. In this case, NetShare were bad for carriers and Apple.

TomTom is interesting, during the keynote speech a few months ago TomTom's very own gps app was touted as a cool new app coming out with the store.

(Ricky Smith said @ #2)
So why arent they allowed to develop a turn by turn application?

Probably because some carriers said they want to put their own pay per use apps on for it... like Verizon Wireless has the VZ Navigator on their service... just a guess

Because Apple can make more money by restricting users and forcing them to use software approved by them (read: by developers that pay them a huge amount for the privilege).