The App Store is the Worst Part of Apple


Just got an email from the Apple Developer program detailing a few updates to their review guidelines. And hey, it sounds like good news: in the US, developers can accept payments outside of the in-app purchase situation that's been a requirement for years. Progress! Right?


There had to be some catches. This was a result of a court order, so clearly they're not doing this willingly. And although it's now technically possible to take a credit card payment in your app that avoids giving Apple 30% of your money, it's functionally impractical-to-impossible.

You have to:

Failure to do any of these things to their exacting specification will get you rejected. There are some weasel words in the guidelines, like how the link out icon size "must visually match the size of the text," which could mean anything to anyone and will definitely result in rejections. And you still have to provide Apple with a report of all your earnings each month so they know you're giving them their 27%.

This all matches what happened in the Netherlands with dating apps, where Apple decided that if they were to comply with these court orders, they'd do so in a way that made it as painful as possible for both developer and consumer.

The App Store is the worst part of Apple.

The deal with Apple, for a long time, was easy to understand. You'd buy a Thing, and that Thing would be different in some way from the things it was competing with on the market in a way that made it desirable. It was easier to use, or looked nicer on your desk, or made you look cool to use it, or had a nicer way of interacting with it, or had software that was nice to use. You'd pay more for it than the other things on the market, because it had those benefits.

But then, the iPhone got huge. All the software that got created for it was a big part of that. But Apple couldn't see that software as a benefit to the ecosystem, despite the ads. Infamously, the guy running things saw any money being made in the ecosystem other than by Apple itself as a parasitic situation. Every dollar earned by some parasite on the system, like, say, developers, would have to be fought for.

That attitude stuck with the App Store leadership, it seems. Rather than accept the situation for what it is – that only having one software vendor for a platform is unacceptable – the folks running the App Store have decided to make the march to independence from the App Store as poisonous a process as possible. They'd rather make the experience of developing for and using the product terrible than give up 30% of ninety-nine cents.

It's gross, and it's not going to stop until a judge decides that this kind of crap isn't good enough. Or maybe the right couple of old guys retire.