Apple accused of iPhone ban on 'all single-station radio apps'
Company claims beef with single developer
Update Update: This story has been updated with comment from Apple and had been updated in other places to reflect that statement and further conversations with Jim Barcus.
Jim Barcus – the president of DJB Radio Apps, an outfit that has long helped build iPhone apps and other mobile apps for radio stations across the country – says that Apple is now barring all single-station radio applications from the iPhone and iPad. But Apple says otherwise, indicting it merely has a problem with a single app developer.
"There are many unique radio apps on the App Store and we look forward to approving many more," reads a statement from an Apple spokesman sent to The Register. "One developer has attempted to spam the app store with hundreds of variations of essentially the same radio app and that is against our guidelines."
Barcus is broadcasting his claims via an article in Radio Magazine, urging radio station owners to complain directly to Apple and Steve Jobs. "I think after enough broadcast professionals complain and make Apple aware of the fact that radio stations are in fierce competition with each other and listener loyalty makes the listener want to only listen to his favorite radio station, Apple may change this rule," he says.
But again, Apple's statement contradicts Barcus's claims.
According to Barcus, Apple began rejecting single-station radio apps on November 10, declaring that "single station apps are the same as a fart app and represent spam in the iTunes store" and that it "will no longer approve any more radio station apps unless there are hundreds of stations on the same app."
Barcus can't see the logic of such a stance. "[Apple doesn't] understand that radio stations are in fierce competition," he told The Reg. "[Apple] just wants all radio stations to be on one big fat app, and that's just not going to happen."
As Barcus points out, Apple's recently introduced App Store guidelines say that "developers 'spamming' the App Store with many versions of similar apps will be removed from the iOS Developer Program." Although Barcus acknowledged that the apps he helps build for radio stations are similar, he said that each station has its own Apple developer account and that each app is named and tagged according to the station's call letters and location. "If you search on 'radio station app,' you're not going to see these applications," he tells us. "This isn't like you're getting spam. It's not like keying in 'Fart app.'"
But after further conversions with Barcus after Apple released it's statement, it appears that multiple apps were indeed submitted from his account – though he also says that third-party accounts were used as well.
Barcus also pointed to what he called inconsistencies in Apple's stance. "Every Pizza joint can have its own app. There are more than 900 flashlight apps. More than 3,000 apps that do maps," he says. "But radio stations cannot have their own apps."
Barcus said he had emailed Steve Jobs directly to appeal for a change of heart. But, according to Barcus, Jobs upheld Apple's stance with typical brevity. "Sorry, we’ve made our decision," Jobs replied, according to Barcus
Fart-app-like 'spam' aside, Apple could be angling to offer some sort of radio tool of its own. "This may be about money," Barcus says. Rumors have long suggested that Apple is building its own FM radio app for the iPhone, and later versions of the Jesus Phone include an FM transmitter and receiver hardware.
Currently, this hardware goes unused. At the moment, apps must tap radio stations via the net, and there are myriad apps that do so. National Public Radio (NPR), for instance, offers an app for listening to hundreds of affiliate stations across the country, and ESPN offers a similar app for tapping some of its affiliate stations. ®
All decisions made by Apple are made exclusively so that Apple can make more money.
While this is not unusual, and, in fact, most business schools preach this very sermon, this revelation does comes as somewhat of a surprise for all of those Apple-lovers who seem to continue to have an irrational expectation that their love will be returned.
No, sad little people. Your love is wasted on Apple. They care not how deep your love is for them. As long as your pockets remain similarly deep, they have no motivation to try to understand or please you.
Better to love Wall Street, as it has demonstrated greater responsiveness to its customers and interest in its customers' desires than Apple ever will. As long as Apple remains a who-gives-a-rats-ass-what-the-idiots-who-pay-our-obscenely-unjustified-prices-think corporation driven by Mephisto's minions, you'll not hear a single word of affection from the aloof object of your desire.
Time to take the poison. Forever there will you remain with worms that are thy chamber-maids.
Yet another reason to avoid the platform
Honestly, with growing examples of this, it's a wonder any developer wants to take the risk on the platform.
As Barcus points out (though admittedly he's massively biased), there are radio apps out there for stations precisely because they pay for their development. You're not going to see Magic clubbing together with Capital to make an app - and they'd probably have something to say about a 3rd party tapping into their webcasts and making money out of an app that does it.
Sadly I'm glad I skipped the v4 phone from the 3G, and starting to survey the rest of the market for alternatives these days :-(
Gotta love the guy who downvoted you for your honest and straightforward comment. I can’t see anything wrong with what you wrote – save that someone evidently took objection to the fact that you are surveying the market for an alternative replacement to your aging iPhone.
Are we become so petty that we downvote an individual simply because they have decided they wish to explore options beyond the carefully manicured, glass-backed walls of Cupertino? Exercising personal choice in which vaguely poisonous built-using-nearly-slave-labour-import-elctro-toy to use is now a reason to downvote someone?
Develop some platform agnosticism, people. It’s just a bloody phone! It has an OS. It consumes power and connects via radio to distant devices. You can run applications on it. Who bloody cares who makes it…and why downvote someone simply because they might be considering that they are possibly disenfranchised with the current pop culture cult?
What about the newspaper apps?
What if it read:
"will no longer approve any more newspaper or magazine apps unless there are hundreds of newspapers or magazines on the same app."
Bye bye Grauniad, Times, FT, Economist, Wired.
So why are radio stations any different?
Great, so now the large radio groups who are already in bed with Apple, such as Global Radio whose stations like LBC have presenters and technology 'gurus' constantly plugging Apple products and advising any PC problem be solved by going out and buying a Mac instead, will be able to add Iphone apps that list their scores of stations, whilst the smaller independent radio stations are shafted.