The Macalope Weekly: Celebrity App Store approval process

Apple runs afoul of a foul-mouthed celebrity (well, who hasn’t done that?) and, ah, spring! When a company’s fancy turns to acquisition! Or not. Because who’s got time to acquire when there’s that tablet thingy to work on?

Sheesh, haven’t they introduced that yet?

Mr. Jobs! Tear down this wall!

Well, Apple’s finally done it now. It’s pissed off a celebrity.

Nine Inch Nail’s Trent Reznor (seen above looking all dark and broody) had some 4-letter “comments” about the App Store approval process this week (link NSFW if you’re the kind of person who reads these things aloud).

Actually, you know what? Go ahead and click through. Everyone you work with probably already knows that Windows Mobile “sucks [redacted]” anyway and it’s an entertaining read, what with the colorful language and all.

The Macalope, for the record, agrees 100 percent with Reznor.

Windows Mobile does suck [redacted].

Oh, and he also agrees with him about the App Store approval process. The rules are inscrutable and, after several apps having been approved and then yanked or denied and then approved without changes (like—surprise!—Reznor’s), one gets the feeling that the reviewers are working off little more than a 3-by-5 index card that says something like “Use your best judgement, Ted!”

Apple’s boxed itself into a corner here. By owning the storefront, the company makes a nice profit off all the sales, but it also lends a tacit endorsement to everything on the virtual shelves. Apple loves to control the user experience from end to end, but that philosophy is not without problems. At the least, Apple needs to document the acceptance criteria more carefully and apply it more consistently. At the most, maybe the company brings in some nefarious gentleman in a leisure suit to sell those “other” apps? That doesn’t seem like a move the company would make. But should our iPhone apps all reflect the morality of a nameless someone at Apple? No.

Finally, the big question: now that acute iPhone approval processitis has a celebrity activist, what color should the ribbons be?

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As the rumor worm turns

Lots of excitement this week as the hot rumor buzz had Apple looking to buy Twitter. Or Electronic Arts. Or maybe a professional sports team.

The Macalope’s so old he remembers the days when the rumor would have been the other way around. Even though Twitter doesn’t make any money. Some of you kids crowding the Macalope’s lawn may be too young to remember, but the 1990s were a hard time to be an Apple fan. People were literally tripping over each other to spread rumors about who was going to buy Apple. Yes, literally! The Macalope remembers seeing a 14-person pile-up outside of Sun headquarters one time back in 1995, and now look at Sun.

Ha! That’s a trick! You can’t! Sun got gobbled up by Oracle!

Also, the Macalope didn’t say “Simon says.”

As Dan Moren notes, neither of these acquisitions really make any sense for Apple. They make sense for jerktastic Internet pundits who love to write Apple porn. “Apple needs EA to make games for the iPhone!” Right, because there’s such a paucity of games for the iPhone. And games for the Mac? That ship has sailed, girlfriend. And Twitter? “Apple needs Twitter because… uh… well… iPhone users like it and, uh… Well, sometimes a girl just needs to buy some shoes, darn it!”

In the past, Apple has always bought companies that mesh with products it intends to sell—usually smaller software and hardware companies—and neither of the rumored companies fit that mold. That’s not to say that the future couldn’t hold other plans—it’s not all about selling Macs anymore. If anything, the Macalope could see the company acquiring a news aggregator to funnel content to both the iPhone and that other thing that might be coming later this year.

Which brings us to our next topic.

Think bigger

Apple is apparently not the only hardware vendor (allegedly) selecting Image -> Resize and shipping the results off to development. Amazon’s Kindle DX looks pretty much like your average Photoshop job of what it was predicted to to look like.

If there was ever a device screaming out for a virtual keyboard, it’s the Kindle. Now it’s just screaming louder. Also, the horny one hasn’t seen such an expanse of white space since the summer shorts sale at the Mall of America.

The Macalope isn’t anti-Kindle-the-Concept. The paper document has had it coming for years. C’mon. Anything that has its own cut named after it is just asking to be put down. But is this the best we as a species can do?

It really rubs this mythical beast the wrong way (and you never want to rub a mythical beast the wrong way—some of them will just explode) when people say, “Just wait until the device that [some company] hasn’t even announced yet ships! It’s going to blow [actually shipping device] out of the water!” So he’s not going to do that.

He’s just going to note that the market for document readers isn’t there yet and there’s still room for other players.

Whoever those might be.

Cough.

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