Huzzah! Progress is made! Let us now move forward into this bright new future, hands clasped together in…
However, there are restrictions.
Oh. Okay. Okay. Okay. Some restrictions are fine. Like, you wouldn’t want the links to be a Rickroll. There are probably some other things you wouldn’t want. Links to images of Steve Ballmer. Stuff like that.
But why does the Macalope get the feeling we’re building to a very sad trombone here?
For example, app developers may not include “the price of items available on the website” in their iOS apps…
“Certainly we don’t want to junk up iOS with such tawdry things as prices for digital goods,” says the company that popularized buying coins to play games.
Okay, that’s obnoxious, but not the end of the world. At least developers can add the link and then people who are curious can…
Also, reader app developers must apply for permission to use the External Link Account Entitlement.
Developers may get a link to their website as a treat. Or they may not!
Has someone checked the tap on this faucet? The drip of these changes seems so slow that it might just be a loose fitting somewhere in the legal department.
“I found it, Tim! Turns out Ned in Developer Agreements just had to be rotated a half turn to the left. Won’t happen again.”
On top of these other restrictions, this change only applies to reader apps. So, the apps that already don’t sell any digital goods through Apple’s purchasing mechanism can now ask to add a link to a page that explains how to actually sign up for their service. Wow!
For a company that prides itself on making things easy to use, that was a ridiculously long period for customers to have to jump through an unnecessary hoop like poodles who have to guess where to find the hoop in the first place. And developers still don’t know if they’ll be granted this ability, they have to apply for it.
The Macalope has never pretended to know what the right balance for the App Store is. He remains unsure of how side-loading could best be implemented, what the right percentage split should be, and whether or not should have to stop by Craig Federighi’s house to comb his hair whenever he asks (that one is a rumored requirement). But he knows that where we are now is not how it should be. At a minimum, he believes that any developer, not just those of reader apps, should be able to provide a link to where people can go to pay for an app on the developer’s website outside of the App Store payment mechanism.
Apple loves to tell us how people love the convenience of the App Store but it sure doesn’t act like it, as it persists in maintaining these ludicrous barriers.