Hacker News new | comments | show | ask | jobs | submit login

This is good in my opinion. The more the rejection, the more the developers will tend to flee away from arrogant Marketplaces like that of Apple's. It will also, in a way, probably force developers to try out other marketplaces like the Windows Phone Marketplace and the Google Play store.

Now, I do understand 500px is trying to create a uni-platform experience for its users, but now that 500px isn't allowed to publish their app, I'm sure it's only a positive sign for other market places. More and more developers will start (slowly, but surely) to neglect Apple's Appstore by default due to the fear of the ridiculous approval process and the uncertainty that their development efforts for the iOS platform may go a waste, because they have seen the history of popular apps like 500px and others.

There is a very thin line of difference between being an elitist and being a d*ck. Apple is making it clear to everyone that they are the latter.

> This is good in my opinion. The more the rejection, the more the developers will tend to flee away from arrogant Marketplaces like that of Apple's. It will also, in a way, probably force developers to try out other marketplaces like the Windows Phone Marketplace and the Google Play store.

People have been saying this for years, and it convinced me to make my Apps available on the android app store. The result, is a lot of messing around, and produced not much extra income.

Until Android starts to make the same sorts of money, which may never happen, this will not change.

Everything I've read to date suggests the Android user base is very different to the iOS user base. From a developer perspective, despite the enormous market share Android offers, it's users are reluctant to spend any money on software.

The iOS user base on the other hand seems to attract users willing to spend money.

I seriously doubt Android will be a viable platform for developers until this culture changes.

Just because the returns are lower doesn't mean it's not viable. There are plenty of Android success stories. Even Angry Birds makes more money on Android than on iOS last I heard.

One of the big challenges on Android is Google doesn't have many credit cards for Apps so right there non-free apps are in trouble. Android may have double the iOS market share but if they only have half as many credit cards their effective market share for paid apps is 1/4 their true market share. That's before you even look at customer demographics, etc.

An important category is apps which are not sold in the app store, and whose provider makes money in other ways, for example account subscriptions. 500px's is an example of such an app.

I'm more than willing to believe Android users on average buy less apps than iOS users. But that just means different business models will succeed there.

i m just backseat driving here, but the fact that paid apps sell less on android is damning evidence for devs to not migrate across (or target it as the primary platform).

A subscription based model is more demanding to maintain, vs a pay-once-app. You at least don't need a server to maintain subscriptions. Ditto with In app purchases (which also require you to maintain a server to keep track of who has paid for what).

For selling "just apps", subscription can definitely be not worth it. But a smartphone-app-centered business model is not the only thing that results in smartphone apps being made. My issue is with the general wording in the grandparent post, which seems to me to suggest Android isn't viable for all or most of developers overall.

If you're looking to reach users of your non-app-centric service that you're looking to provide a free app for, targetting Android is a no-brainer if your service is aimed at demographic groups in which Android has sizeable or even plurality user adoption. That's most of them, but not all.

Looking through apps on my devices (I'm one of the "cheap" Android users with zero paid apps), Flickr, Evernote, Mint.com, Opera, car2go, Skype, Starbucks, Kobo all stand out as quality apps that pay off for the developers in other ways.

One key factor people aren't taking into account is that there are non-phone versions of iOS devices, namely iPod Touches, which is a giant market that Android doesn't cover.

What's your app?

This is a fair question, and not downvotable imo, especially considering that john/megablast's profile is out of date.

There's a history of people who produce Android versions of their software which aren't anywhere near as polished as the iOS one. If that's the case, then of course nobody's going to pay for it.

If you have two versions which are more or less identical, that's different.

As you've framed it, it's a loaded question that assumes the author is a moron who somehow expects a half-assed port to produce equal returns. Reasonable people can presume he has an idea of the quality of his own Android app and managed his expectations accordingly and yet he was disappointed. This is not a new story nor does is contradict the vast majority of data points we have.

You're exaggerating my position, but yes, I've seen quite a few cases where developers have produced an Android app late and/or as an afterthought and, surprise, it hasn't done as well as the iOS version.

Here's one from 6 days ago: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=5066305

I was curious about it for a bunch of reasons.

I'm curious if there's a high order pattern for apps that make more on ios than android and vice versa.

I'm curious if as much promotion went into the android app as the ios app.

I'm always interested in finding new quality android apps, and I enjoy promoting ones that I'm particularly happy with.

Oh, my Android apps are not as good as my iPhone apps, but they have about 70% of the functionality, and cost the lowest price you can set in the Android store, whereas the iPhone apps go for about $4 to $5.

Why get an education and work hard, stand up for my principles and all that garbage when I can just go work the corner?

Developers go where the users go (and pay). Until the Windows and Android stores start bringing devs the same type of money, it's still always worth it to "take the risk" of Apple's store.

The only way I see this changing is if users themselves cared about an app being pulled, and this app doesn't seem big enough for people to care (maybe if Instagram was taken down).

I recently decided to port some apps to Android and Windows 8 to lower my Apple only risk. Diversification is good right? It's been a really mixed bag so far. 1 of my apps is doing better than it's iPhone counterpart, the rest might as well not exist. [1]

[1] - http://www.entrelife.com/2013/01/case-study-of-android-vs-ip...


The interesting math is the intersection of "what app" and "what platform". Popularity of platform is played off with discoverability of the app on said platform.

Very interesting. Thanks for sharing numbers.

Are you using something like Mono to share code among platforms or are you doing total rewrites for each port?

So far I've done native rewrites. Initially everything was designed specifically for iOS, so when porting I've just gone with native. I may consider some kind of cross platform option for the next completely new app. I haven't decided yet. (In general I think native is better, but there are obviously benefits to writing one version.)

Most developers go where users go, most of the time, until some of them have a reason not to. Luckily for those who don't always follow the money, demand sometimes follows supply instead of the other way around.

> Developers go where the users go

You are aware that, except in a tiny fraction of the world, users are going massively android, right?

Either your parent edited after your post or you conveniently skipped the '(and pay)' in your argument. I'd like to see some solid comparison of revenue numbers between Play store and Appstore. I'm pretty sure iOS would still come out ahead in that regard, until I get disproven on this. Of course I'm not saying that one should ignore Android, since this will quite possibly change in the (near) future, but still, from an economic standpoint it IMO still makes sense to target iOS first.

When something is conveniently enclosed in parenthesis, it means it is an extension or addition, right?

Anyway, yes I replied to the "where users go", and not to the "where users pay" thing, because I think it is two problems.

So apparently, by the numbers, users go Android, but iOS users are currently more willing to purchase apps, right? Maybe. But not sure. I don't think Android users would be that reluctant to pay a small amount of dollars for an app they really want, if it were convenient.

I paid happily for Minecraft, Machinarium, GTA and 4/5 utilities. The problem is probably that the main source of data, the Google play market, is currently not open to transactions in China and maybe other big countries. So, for me, to buy an app I need: a rooted device, the "fake US location" app (market enabler), a working VPN installed on the phone, and a credit card.

I would like to know the numbers for local Chinese markets, but given that they try very hard to attract user it should probably be juicy, or at least very promising.

I didn't edit for the record.

Do you have experience distributing apps? While the pure numbers are massively Android, my personal experience is iOS will get you far more downloads, so either Android people are not downloading apps, the Android numbers are inflated by devices that use Android but don't lend themselves to apps, or it's just really hard to get an app noticed on the Play store.

It's probably fairer to say that "Developers go where the users are willing to pay". As I understand it, iOS currently wins hands down in that category.

How is this at all relevant? Publishing in one app store does not prevent you from publishing in the opposing one.

Services like 500px no doubt have both Android and iOS apps, and they will continue to do so as long as their customers (and potential customers) carry these devices in their pockets.

So long as hundreds of millions of people carry iOS devices, people will publish apps in the App Store in droves, regardless of how draconian Apple's rules are. This is entirely independent of how many other people use Android.

Previous poster is entirely correct, the power to enact change here is entirely at the hands of customers who buy Apple products. Developers have no leverage here, because everyone knows that so long as Apple keeps shipping tens of millions of tablets and phones every quarter, to wealthy people with high disposable income, devs will stay.

1. 500px ditched from Apple store

2. "Nice, more people will go away from Apple store"

3. "Developpers go where user go (and pay)" (ie iOS)

4. me: "user go Android".

5. you: "How is this at all relevant? do both"

Well, sure you can do both, but I was replying to the "user go Apple" claim above, so it is relevant, or?

There is a reality mismatch with Apple: they do nice tools, but the fact we hear about them a lot and almost all movies, screenshot, etc. seem to show only Apple products, do not mean that most users actually use Apple systems or products (except if "most users" means "most startup entrepreneurs and wealthy folks in SV")

The reality is, to be clear, that all but a tiny not representative fraction of laptops and desktops are running a version of Windows, and almost all but a small fraction of smartphones run a variant of Android.

I avoid Windows and I am not particularly found of Android, but I think not going Android is suicidal for devs, except if they do special elite or niche apps. I did not invent this myself, Fred Wilson said the same many time.

My understanding of the current state of affairs is that 'users who pay for apps' are still disproportionately represented on iOS. That is, there may be more users on Android, there are more potential customers on iOS.

I could be wrong, though - maybe that balance has started to shift?

I'm not going to argue about whether what they did was right or wrong but I am going to argue about why they make the decisions they do.

A company with a 475B market cap doesn't just do things to be "elitest and a d*ck". I often see these arguments that Apple does things just to be mean or evil but frankly, I think these are emotional responses. There is a more objective reasoning behind why they do the things they do.

From the beginning, Apple has been about presenting a certain "consistency of quality". They want people to equate an Apple product with a product that is free from worries. I get it. You may not agree with it, but I get it. This will naturally piss off 5% of the hard core users who want ultimate flexibility from their platform. But it will also make 95% of the people feel all snugly and warm that they don't need to worry about things like porn or viruses appearing on their device.

Again, I'm not arguing whether 500px's app measures up to "objectional material" or not. What I am arguing is that the reason why Apple removed the app is not because they're trying to be mean but because they have discovered that an app (whether it's had 1,000,00 downloads or 100 downloads) violates the "consistency of quality" that they are trying to present.

Frankly, the 8 year old version of me would have had no difficulty visiting the desktop version of the website and disabling safemode.

Or searching in safari. The fact that there is an actual web browser on there is what makes these removals so ridiculous.

Parents can disable Safari (and other browsers all have 17+ rating).

How are you supposed to turn on nudity without a browser?

> More and more developers will start (slowly, but surely) to neglect Apple's Appstore by default due to the fear of the ridiculous approval process and the uncertainty that their development efforts for the iOS platform may go a waste, because they have seen the history of popular apps like 500px and others.

I really hope this happens, but it seems so far that people are more than happy to put up with Apple's draconian App Store policies. We're not even talking about equal treatment - iOS apps continue to come out before Android apps, and Windows Phone apps often aren't even made.

I like Apple's draconian policy. Not all of their policy, but sometimes it's just appropriate for them to keep developers in line.

For example, about two years ago we released an app for a running event in our state. It used background GPS events to record the runners' locations on a map. Gave them stats and all that.

Apple rejected it because we didn't prominently warn users that background GPS could affect their battery life. This was a good change, that we would not have made, had Apple not reviewed our app.

Sometimes it feels like developers think they have an inherent right to pollute whatever platform they want with their apps, just because they can write code.

If anything, I think Apple is not strict enough. There's a lot of crap on the App Store. And I say this as someone who has had apps rejected a ton of times, and would seriously benefit from being able to include downloadable code and a JIT interpreter in my app (both disallowed).

I disagree with you here rgarding Apple Policy and GPS - one area that Apple has absolutely been failing for the last couple years is in their horrible policy regarding background GPS draining of the battery. Almost every time my battery goes to zero (in fact, I actually think it IS every time) - it is because of background GPS lighting up the radio and draining my battery. Lots of apps do this, and it is a blight on the iOS platform.

If windows mobile/blackberry come up with better policies regarding developers that would increase the quality of the applications, and reduce the amount of crap that the iOS developer engage in, then I suspect those platforms will start to pick up users.

Android = Ultimate Freedom, but you need to manage it. Apple IOS = Some Freedom to shoot yourself in the foot.

Like I said, I think Apple should be more strict with their policy.

I just thought it was nice that they actually checked our app, and told us to clearly warn our users about background GPS.

They've done this sort of thing a lot to our apps. One game we had still had placeholder art. They found it, rejected it, and told us to fix the placeholder art.

I also like that they reject outright if your app crashes during the review process.

Sadly, I think they have been getting more and more lenient as the sheer volume of App submissions increases.

>it seems so far that people are more than happy to put up with Apple's draconian App Store policies.

Devs are going where the market is. But where the market is will eventually change and Apple may be forced to open up to compete.

Like I said, I predict it will be a very slow change. You know how MySpace was once THE Social Network to be on, and when you weren't there, you would be looked down upon? Now, despite an epic re-design, nobody even talks about it, except for examples like these, perhaps. It could be the same case for Apple's Appstore, assuming they continue this painful trend of pissing off developers.

I don't think that analogy works very well. If anything, the App Store is more comparable to Facebook: despite all of its pitfalls and drawbacks, everyone is already so invested that switching seems impossible. Developers will go where the money is, and as long as Apple continues to sell millions of iDevices, most developers won't abandon a profitable platform.

Why do people keep bring up with this stupid Myspace argument ?

There are plenty of examples of market leading companies that have remained on top despite additional competition e.g. Windows, Office, Google Search.

of the examples you supplied, only windows fits, and it barely. MS Office beat the entrenched lotus 123, google beat yahoo. I can only think of one more that fits - Amazon - which hasn't been replaced.

It seems its more common for a first mover to be displaced than to remain...

Unfortunately until there exists another good way for people to get their apps onto iOS devices (not counting web apps) Apple will remain the gatekeeper of their garden. Windows Phone Marketplace or Google Play store don't do much good for someone wanting to release an iOS app.

Why do we continue to accept the Apple euphemism that their ecosystem is a "walled garden"?

There are much more accurate terms to describe the Apple ecosystem.

When governments do this, prevent their users from looking at fine art that happens to involve nudity, we don't call the society a "walled garden."

That isn't an "Apple euphemism." It's a pejorative term much older than the iPhone that Apple's critics apply to the Apple ecosystem.

I think I first heard the term used in the context of technology on Observers.net in reference to AOL, but it's probably even older.

This is the same argument that has been used for decades for many problems. Like making gas $10/gallon to reduce dependence on middle east oil. It never works and is an unamerican argument. It's tantamount to saying Marx had it right all along. If this were 1950-56 i'm sure your argument would have been better received.

That said, what Apple did was ridiculous. Youtube, safari, chrome, Flickr etc etc all have the potential to show nudity. Big deal, the walls of the Uffizi are lined with nudity... Damn Puritans, we're still paying for their religious fundamentalism in this country.

It's telling that you want Apple to burn rather than improve.

Maybe 500px should think about making a great web app, to avoid being pulled out of the Apple Store. Everytime I'm fascinated by beautiful web apps with a great responsive UX. Something like Sun: http://pattern.dk/sun/

I think the 500px app shouldn't be too complicated running as a web app. As far as I can see, there's no big usage of iPhone hardware sensors which couldn't be easily implemented in a web app.

So maybe this is a way to go.

Meh. It sucks that businesses like 500px have to be a marter in a bottle necked distribution environment. Its amazing enough that they built a beautiful product that people want to use, found a way to get adoption and have cultivated such a passionate users base. Now they have to go solve a tangential business that wasn't part of their vision or expertise.

At the very least developers should make the Android app first, which would still have the potential for about as much userbase, and then make the iOS first, perhaps using this:


At least they wouldn't waste so much time just to get rejected from the beginning.

> due to the fear of the ridiculous approval process

It's not ridiculous and pretty easy to understand. No questionable content. No trying to be clever about the rules. No private APIs. I have been involved in over 20 popular apps on the store and not one has ever been rejected.

> their development efforts for the iOS platform may go a waste

Developers aren't stupid. The iOS platform is by far the largest and most profitable and will continue to remain so in the years ahead. And the fact is that iOS is a much simpler platform to develop and test for than the myriad of device combinations on Android.

Plus you're entire argument is tired. It has been around since the beginning of the store and will continue to be so long as Apple rejects apps.

And then you do something as seemingly innocent as querying the NSComputer image on a Mac, sending it over the network, and showing it on an iPhone, and Apple rejects you.

It's great that you've had no trouble, but please don't extrapolate that into a belief that there is no trouble.

At what point did I ever say there was no trouble ?

There will always be people who try and get around the rules. Including using Apple's artwork without permission.

It's not "using Apple's artwork without permission." There's a public API for obtaining this stuff, and all we did is send the result across the network. Note that Apple agreed with us... eventually.

You did essentially say that Apple's review process is not a problem as long as you actually follow the rules, which is simply not true.

Guidelines | FAQ | Support | API | Security | Lists | Bookmarklet | DMCA | Apply to YC | Contact