The success of the App Store is unquestionable: Apple has managed to position its devices very well and provide users with an application that collects and centralizes the downloading of content, in a simple and cheap way. In addition, it has also pleased developers who see the App Store as a viable and profitable business model .
And yet, the system is not perfect: Apple has received a lot of criticism due to its application validation system, which censors some applications and does not allow the publication of others because they “conflict” with the main applications of the phone ( or because its partners are not interested, call phone operators and all the case with Google Voice ).
Now, to all the problems that Apple has with its App Store ( and that all come from the same, that absurd control that they impose ), two more have been added that, although indirectly affect the service they offer and that can be a headache for users.
Sale of false comments
Drita commented a couple of days ago at Engadget on one of the most notorious scandals in Apple’s store: Apparently, a marketing and public relations company allegedly used some of its employees to generate false positive comments in order to improve positioning and appearance in the eyes of other shoppers.
The story was revealed this week on MobileCrunch, after seeing how some users systematically voted five stars for all the games that were clients of Reverb Communications , a company that has also worked with Apple since it created some of its TV ads.
The company claims that it all comes from an employee who was fired from the company a few months ago, although MobileCrunch claims that it was an investigation that started with them. Personally, it makes more sense to think that it all started with a “tip-off” from this disgruntled person and that they then continued to investigate.
Just today, the public relations company sent an informative note in which they comment that everything they say on the website is loaded with intention and is false : They argue that they are also a viral marketing company and that they use it to position products.
They also imply that their employees can evaluate the products personally , after having played them and that, of course, they seem to have liked them a lot. They defend themselves from the fact of the hundreds of fake comments by saying that they don’t have so many credit cards that they create hundreds of “fake” users.
These comments do not affect the Spanish AppStore , since as you know, each comment only appears in the country specified as the registered user. In any case, whether the MobileCrunch accusations are true or not, it is true that we are too much guided by the comments we see in the AppStore when deciding to buy an application: My personal advice is to compare opinions from various blogs , websites and ask for opinions before deciding to buy.
Sending personal data without consent
A Pinch too much, Escándalo en la App Store, Cheating the AppStore
On the Dev-Team blog ( yes, those who release iPhones ) report that some applications ( not all, not even most ) hide behind the use of geographic geopositioning to send much more data to the developer’s servers , in particular they talk about Pinch Media.
At least Apple itself doesn’t: On the Palm Pre, generically, a lot of personal data is sent to Palm servers, such as what applications we use and where we do it. On the iPhone this doesn’t happen… well, Apple doesn’t do it but is allowing others to do it.
The people of Pinch Media have been accused of sending personal data without the express consent of the user. Nothing more and nothing less than the following:
- A hardware identifier (they say it has no personal information)
- The iPhone model and operating system
- The name of the application and the version
- If the iPhone is jailbroken
- An “indicator” that indicates if the application has been stolen (i.e. installed without paying for it)
- How long the application has been running
- The location
- If the application uses Facebook Connect, the gender and age of the user
Almost nothing. And don’t think that these are suppositions, they are official statements from Pinch Media that have wanted to get out of the way before anyone else does it for them. Of course, they argue that this data is completely anonymous and is used by developers to improve their applications.
But when does the user give permission for this data to be sent? As anonymous as they are, I don’t feel like sending information from my Facebook Connect, for example! Who are they to “appropriate” ( for not using an uglier word ) MY information from MY private terminal?
Apple, get a grip
I love the App Store concept, but personally I think Apple is getting out of hand : They create a system of censorship of applications that tell us what we should and shouldn’t use, and they are sneaking in malicious applications that should be filtered out.
As I said in some comments, what Apple should do is change the application validation system to a code review system : Have your engineers review the code you send them to publish and audit whether that code causes problems on the phone or is malicious. That’s what they should filter out, not that an application includes bad words .
And please don’t tell me what I can or cannot install on my phone: If you think there is content that is not appropriate for certain audiences, use the parental control system … That’s why they implemented them, right?