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iPhone developers gifted lovely free extension

While Apple mulls exclusively expensive app store

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Developers who stumped up $99 to become part of the iPhone application ecosystem are to have their subscription extended for a couple of months, while rumours bubble that Apple is planning to offer a more exclusive iTunes experience.

CNet reports that developers who signed up early to create apps for the iPhone have had their subscriptions extended until July 11, when they could be running out any day now. Meanwhile, PocketGamer.biz is reporting Apple's plans to create a more exclusive app store where the discriminating buyer could browse quality titles at $20 a piece while avoiding the deluge of fart apps and equally pointless crap that plagues the existing store.

In order to develop and distribute apps for the iPhone one has to join the iPhone Developer Program, and stump up $99 for the privilege of having one's creation considered for inclusion in the iTunes Application Store - still the only way to legitimately distribute iPhone applications.

Some developers have been complaining that they didn't realise that the $99 was an annual subscription, rather than a one-time fee, and that fact isn't obvious from the sign-up procedure. So by extending registrations to July 11 - one year since the opening of the store - Apple is offering developers plenty of warning and time to find the not-unreasonable hundred dollars.

Once the fee has been paid, and an application created that avoids breaking any of Apple's unpublished rules on acceptable behaviour, then there remains the fact that the iTunes app store is rapidly becoming a morass of mediocrity at best, and developers are desperate for some way to raise their creations from the slushpile.

Cordoning off a "premium" area is one option, perhaps combined with a specific application niche, though there's a risk that no one will bother looking behind the curtain when they can get their fill of $1 apps outside. But something has to be done if iPhone application development isn't going to stall at novelty applications that serve no greater purpose than to bore the friends of those who buy them. ®

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