VoiceCentral dev talks Apple

John Walton
Cell Phone Editor
| August 1, 2009

For those of you who haven't been following mobile news over the past week, the Apple App Store has eighty-sixed some programs that facilitate the use of Google Voice, which allows users to send texts, make calls, receive voice mails, and manage all of these communications visually via phone or computer. The FCC is looking into the matter in the interest of a competitive market.

Now, Kevin Duerr, the man whose company, Riverturn, is behind one such application called VoiceCentral, has given an interview to Mac Life that provides for the rest of us a taste of what it's like to make a living creating programs for Apple. If you've ever been the least bit curious about the topic, you probably already know that Apple is finicky at best - and absolutely arbitrary at worst - when it comes to their system for approving and denying apps, as well as yanking previously admitted programs form their Store.

Reading what Kevin Duerr has to say about the experience makes me wonder if Apple's snootier-than-thou posture won't eventually drive coders into the arms of webOS and perhaps Android (if only Google offered an environment as polished as the iPhone's). Whether or not Duerr's attitude reflects an impending massive shift or simply the jolt of a highly-publicized rejection, I do not know. But I think it's safe to say that his concerns are shared by others. Here are a few interesting choice quotes from Mac Life:

On the legend:

?We knew from reading about other people's experiences that developing
for the iPhone is not always the easiest thing in the world. We had
read plenty of the horror stories. But the thing that we hadn't
anticipated was this utter lack of communication.?

On the sticky situation created when an app is approved and then denied:

?Apple made it impossible for our customers to receive the fixes,
updates, and support by pulling the app. We were fulfilling our end of
the bargain. Why should those refunds come out of our pocket? The refund issue and lack of respect for our mutual customers
has further soured us on the belief that Apple cares at all about their
developers ? other than the dollars they bring in.?

On directing clients towards better investments:

?We are interested in both the Android and WebOS platforms. But
at this moment, we have not made any final decisions at all, other than
that it would be really hard to continue to invest our own dollars in
the iPhone development program for our own apps. We think that we will
continue to develop apps for our clients but will strongly caution them
that they too could lose their investment if Apple ever decides to pull
their app.? 

So, there you have it: the founder of a technology consulting firm and iPhone app development company is cautioning his customers that submitting code to Apple could be a cause lost - or worse, money lost.

Despite my fondness of Android, I cannot deny that iPhone applications have the most beautiful interface elements and provide the most seamless and uniform experience I've ever seen on a phone. It's no accident that the Apple holds the market share it does. The iPhone offers an excellent user experience. But perhaps the haughty industry leader and their over-saturated App Store are losing appeal for the folks who breath life into them - coders.

It seems that some developers, who were previously hard-pressed to find incentive to write for any other platform, are indeed looking for greener pastures. There are a lot of holes in the app stores of other phones. And when it comes to original ideas, the Apple App Store just may be fished out for all but those with the very longest lines. That's a bad metaphor for intellectual reach...great, innovative ideas. No? O.K., I'll just stop here then. I think you get the idea.

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