Regarding Ryan Block Asking Steve Jobs if SIM-Unlocking Apps Will Be Allowed ★
I have to say, I side with Block on this one. Just because the answer is obvious doesn’t mean it wasn’t a fair question. I don’t have a problem with Apple serving as a gatekeeper with approval over all apps, but if that’s the role they want, their policies should be explicit. In the presentation, they only listed things like porno and “malicious” apps as thing that wouldn’t be tolerated. Clearly, something that impedes on their carrier contracts won’t either.
It’s probably a moot point because of the data sandboxing (iPhone apps only have access to their own files, not the files of other apps), but would Amazon be allowed to write an OS X Touch app for buying songs from the Amazon MP3 store? Again, I’m not saying it’s outrageous if the answer is “no”, but if that’s the case, it’s only fair to get it on the record as to whether Apple plans to disallow any app that impedes on an Apple revenue stream.
Well I have to strongly disagree with Mr. Gruber here. On the one hand we have Apple not allowing an application that will obviously break exclusivity deals with the cell phone carriers they have partnered with. On the other hand we have, based on the examples you gave, applications that have no basis on deals with Apple directly but on the providers of content. Since there was a pretty obvious demo of AIM on the iPhone I really don't think Apple cares about the apps that compete with it. Especially in these categories. Oh sure Apple won't get the minor revenue if a user gets their music from Amazon. They still have that same music playing on the iPhone or iPod Touch. In fact it makes their platform more attractive and they can sell more hardware.
Ok maybe their policy should be more explicit. What will and won't be allowed, although I think they can't be too explicit since it will evolve over time. But the basic fact is that Apple has direct contracts with cell carriers and providing a way to bypass those carries is not going to be something they can legally allow. This is pretty obvious and leads to the quite right derision heaped on Ryan Block's question. If he had actually asked about Amazon (or any third party) music download or video rentals or anything like that I would be in support of him. Even if he asked about more explicit descriptions of what would be allowed for iPhone apps I would be on board. But his question as stated didn't lead to any answer that would even remotely, possibly be anything that wasn't "Er no, der." That is why people are castigating him.