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TMI Tim: Standards & Double-Standards

For those of you who managed to get Animoog's latest update running, you will have discovered a new In-App Purchase which will add MIDI Out for $4. I love Animoog's ribbon controller, and find it to be a great way to play with Polyphonic Aftertouch. This seems like a great deal, especially for the fortunate people who bought Animoog when it was $0.99, but Synthtopia makes some very good arguments that standards, like the MIDI Standard, need to come standard.

Artist Rendering
Self-portrait

Synthesists don’t want to have to think about whether a synth supports MIDI... In the long run, making MIDI work consistently on the iPad music platform should be beneficial to Moog and to all companies making serious music apps.

A wise sentiment, and one that Apple agrees with! Or at least they have in the past. Last March Audanika had tried to make MIDI Out an In-App Purchase for Sound Prism. It was rejected then on the grounds that it was charging to "access built-in capabilities provided by iOS", i.e. CoreMIDI. I checked this morning and that is still in the App Store Guidelines:

11.8: Apps that charge users to access built-in capabilities provided by iOS, such as the camera or the gyroscope, will be rejected.

Animoog isn't the first one to pull a fast one on this score. The app, formerly known as Fairlight CMI, did a similar IAP for MIDI functionality. Just a few weeks after SoundPrism was rejected! Instead of calling it a MIDI Tax they nested it in with a bunch of "Pro" features and charged $40 for a Pro upgrade IAP!

Moog has somehow managed to get past a hard prohibition in the documented review guidelines. At best this is just an example of the App Review team being over-worked and sloppy. At worst this demonstrates favoritism in the review process, when big companies like Fairlight and Moog are allowed to break the rules and charge for things smaller companies cannot.

Don't bother writing to Moog in protest, tell Apple to stick to their own guidelines.

Reader Comments 5

Well, I fear Apple is to blame here, if there are rules to uphold, they should enforce them.

On the other hand, I can imagine an Animoog Pro (much like Soundprism Pro)... Soundprism used to cost 3EUR or something before becoming free and the Pro version is around 13 EUR... so...

Cheers,
p

August 13, 2012  | person_outline pablof79

It would be cool if everyone played by the rules. I'd like a pet unicorn, too. That would be swell. Meanwhile, Apple will do whatever they think maximizes their bottom line.

Dev: "That was never a condition of our agreement, nor was making MIDI an in-app purchase!"
Apple: "Perhaps you think you're being treated unfairly?"
Dev: "...No."
Apple: "Good. It would be unfortunate if I had to leave a garrison here."

August 14, 2012  | person_outline Fessaboy

If I were going to complain to Apple about something, it'd be about the lack of an upgrade revenue path for developers. This is all about Apple making apps commodities to sell more devices.

"Commoditize Your Complements": http://www.joelonsoftware.com/articles/StrategyLetterV.html

August 14, 2012  | person_outline Will

That is an interesting read, Will. I was entirely unaware of that economic concept! The examples there are good parallels to what we see of Apple's strategy in all facets of iTunes. I am more than a little terrified by how much I don't know about economics. It is like some people knowing a secret to the law of gravity, so they can tweak it and make the rest of us bounce up and down.

That article melted my brain a little when I first read it. Afterwards, you see it everywhere.

Apple even does it to their own software. Try to find an iLife/iWork competitor for $50 (both more like $30 on amazon) anywhere. Not at all possible for an independent software shop to compete on price. Shit, logic for $199 is absurd. It will be interesting to see if/how apple goes about charging more money for the next big logic upgrade. I wonder if they'll just say you need whatever the next OS is to run it. And perhaps that next OS will not work on older macs anymore. I dunno. Maybe $199 is 'end of life' pricing.

August 14, 2012  | person_outline Will
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