Vergil Kanne
Interactive Producer at Tactica Interactive
Vergil Kanne
Interactive Producer at Tactica Interactive

Caught in the Crossfire: 5 Companies that could be hit by Apple’s iPhone OS 4.0 ToS

April  2010 / 14 4 Comments

1. Unity3D

Unity3d iPhone Development

This one hits close to home. Aside from the effects this will have on the folks at Unity Technologies. I can’t help but think of all the developers who have purchased the additional Unity iPhone license – $300 and $1200 for indie and pro respectively. Add to that the amount of time invested in learning to develop on the platform, and there are a lot of independent developers and small businesses that will be dramatically affected.

Adding insult to injury, companies like Unity seem to be left in the dark:

We haven’t heard anything from Apple about this affecting us, and we believe that with hundreds of titles (or probably over a thousand by now), including a significant proportion of the best selling ones, we’re adding so much value to the iPhone ecosystem that Apple can’t possibly want to shut that down.

Our current best guess is that we’ll be fine. But it would obviously be irresponsible to guarantee that. What I can guarantee is that we’ll continue to do everything in our power to make this work, and that we will be here to inform you when we know more – as soon as we know more. – David Helgason, Unity and the iPhone OS 4.0

2. Rhomobile

Rhomobile iPhone Development

Rhomobile seems to be a little more confident that they’re ok, but the community still seems to be shaken by the announcement. While they maintain that they require XCode to be installed on the dev machine, this caveat may not save them from the fact that their platform generates Objective-C.

We believe that we are in compliance with the new terms of service in the iPhone 4 SDK. Specifically with Rhodes apps developers must install the Apple iPhone SDK before using Rhodes to create their app. We generate Objective C and require that XCode be installed and executable on a Mac to perform the build. Apps cannot be submitted to the App Store without using XCode to do signing. -Adam Blum, iPhone 4.0 SDK Rules

3. PhoneGap

PhoneGap iPhone Development

PhoneGap is putting it out there. I got mine. Is it a good sign for others, or a temporary pacification?

Through email discussions with Apple, I specifically asked what, if any, impact did this have on present/future applications submitted to the App store that were built using PhoneGap. In no uncertain terms, my contacts at Apple have assured me that “PhoneGap is not in violation of the 3.3.1 clause of the license agreement.”

How this affects other tool-chains like Appcelerator, Flash CS5, Corona, MonoTouch, … I have absolutely no idea. All I can say is that PhoneGap is okay. – Jesse Macfadyen, PhoneGap and the Apple Developer License Agreement

4. Appcelerator

Appcelerator iPhone Development

Just where will the line be drawn? Common sense would say that development tools that generated Objective-C, but used XCode to compile the source would be safe. Then again, common sense would say that ostracizing a large portion of your developer pool would be bad business.

Titanium produces a valid XCode project at application creation, generates Objective-C (and sometimes C/C++) and executes the xcodebuild to compile your XCode project into a native application using Apple’s published APIs. We launch the Apple’s iPhone simulator to test your application, create the correct Apple binary for integration to iTunes when testing your signed application on device and use all the certified Apple tools for signing to create the final distribution. – Jeff Haynie, Update on Apple SDK and Tos

5. Corona

Corona iPhone Development

Like the companies above, Ansca’s response to it’s user base shows courage and commitment. Corona also publishes for Android, which highlights another point – at what stage does the path to publish on other platforms become so much easier, that mobile developers choose to take the path of least resistance – and risk?

Let me reassure all of you that we will do whatever it takes to make this work, just like we have been doing since Corona first started shipping.

I believe that Corona will be fine, and we are committed to delivering the best tool for multi-platform game and app creation for Apple and Android devices, and we will continue to add new features to Corona and to make it better every time we put a new release out. Carlos M. Icaza, Corona and iPhone OS 4.0

Display of Aggression

What everyone is really hoping, is that this is just a display of aggression, one large corporation trying to intimidate another. But being caught up in the heat of battle, does Apple realize what it’s doing to it’s already damaged relationship with developers?

  • Insta-app tools result in lame apps.

    Fantastic move by Apple – hopefully they will enforce it strongly.

    This is exactly what needs to be done to cull the rubbish, to cut down on crapware.

    Hopefully Android and other “loose” systems will continue with no controls on crapware, so they will become more of a mess than they are and go away.

    Any production company so lame it can’t use objective C, is a non-starter. It would be like a film production company that “finds those lens things difficult.” If you’re making a film the least problem is running the camera. If you’re producing a video game or app the least problem is the programming.

    The only thing better than this step would be if Apple banned the ridiculous free apps on the app store.

  • Pauly P, it’s opinions like yours that stifle innovation. Your comment reminds me of machine language and COBOL programmers in the early 80s sticking up their noses at newfangled OO development tools and languages. Obviously Objective-C is the most flexible, but tools like the above abstract a layer and open up to wider development audience who can innovate and bring apps – games or business – to the platform much faster. The lens analogy is just silly. It’s more like Apple saying “you have to shoot our brand of raw footage to produce a movie.” We all know that isn’t true.

    If being lame means my team can create apps for my clients in days iinstead of months, then I’ll be lame.

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