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How Apple's App Review Is Sabotaging the iPhone 509

snydeq writes to recommend Peter Wayner's inside look at the frustration iPhone developers face from Apple when attempting to distribute their apps through the iPhone App Store. Wayner's long piece is an extended analogy comparing Apple to the worst of Soviet-era bureaucracy. "Determined simply to dump an HTML version of his book into UIWebView and offer two versions through the App Store, Wayner endures four months of inexplicable silences, mixed messages, and almost whimsical rejections from Apple — the kind of frustration and uncertainty Wayner believes is fast transforming Apple's regulated marketplace into a hotbed of bottom-feeding mediocrity. 'Developers are afraid to risk serious development time on the platform as long as anonymous gatekeepers are able to delay projects by weeks and months with some seemingly random flick of a finger,' Wayner writes of his experience. 'It's one thing to delay a homebrew project like mine, but it's another thing to shut down a team of developers burning real cash. Apple should be worried when real programmers shrug off the rejections by saying, "It's just a hobby."'"
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How Apple's App Review Is Sabotaging the iPhone

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  • And yet... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jcr ( 53032 ) <jcr.mac@com> on Monday July 20, 2009 @07:31PM (#28763639) Journal

    Apple's managed to get more than fifty thousand apps through the process and onto the store. Nobody's going to write stories about the ones that went smoothly.


  • by nurb432 ( 527695 ) on Monday July 20, 2009 @07:37PM (#28763695) Homepage Journal

    Might have been 2 billion if it was an easier process.

  • Good (Score:3, Insightful)

    by kmac06 ( 608921 ) on Monday July 20, 2009 @07:38PM (#28763699)
    Apple is not interested in allowing you to control your own hardware. This is just another example among many. I hope this sort of thing makes the iPhone and other Apple crap die a painful death.

    Long live Android!
  • Re:And yet... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by thisnamestoolong ( 1584383 ) on Monday July 20, 2009 @07:39PM (#28763711)
    Yes, but how many of those apps are good? I don't personally have an iPhone but from what I have seen it seems like most iPhone apps are half-baked juvenile distractions, rather than anything seriously useful. It seems logical to me that the overall quality of iPhone apps could be improved tremendously if devs could actually devote time and resources to apps without fear of arbitrary rejection.
  • Re:And yet... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by syousef ( 465911 ) on Monday July 20, 2009 @07:40PM (#28763721) Journal

    Apple's managed to get more than fifty thousand apps through the process and onto the store. Nobody's going to write stories about the ones that went smoothly.

    Apple is stifling innovation and you think it's fine so long as they've let through 50,000 tetris clones (okay an exaggeration, but it makes my point). Gotta love it. Think different indeed. Think with our marketing blinkers on. To top it off I bet I get modded troll by Apple zealots.

    This is EXACTLY why we need OPEN architectures. No developer should have to go through putting together an application only to have it rejected arbitrarily. The same people who support DRM and copyright supposedly to compensate the creator are happy to deny a developer ANY money for their effort at their whim. Hypocrites!

    Well I won't be buying an iPhone no matter how "cool" they look or what nifty features they have let alone gambling my time and effort developing for one in the hope that some junior Apple cronie rubber stamps it.

  • by girlintraining ( 1395911 ) on Monday July 20, 2009 @07:53PM (#28763855)

    Sidekicks -- They have a "marketplace too". Locked down. T-mobile phones. Locked down. AT&T phones. Locked down. Almost every phone in existance has a "market place" equivalent, which has an approval process. Suddenly the iPhone comes along and people were expecting sunshine and kittens?

  • Re:So... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by PeanutButterBreath ( 1224570 ) on Monday July 20, 2009 @07:56PM (#28763897)

    First they came for the "lame" apps that wanted to be distributed on the iPhone, but I didn't care because I didn't have and iPhone and/or trust Apple to filter apps for me. . .

    Its easy to shrug your shoulders now, when you don't care about a particular functionality. Or if you happen to be the type that habitually runs their cash through Apple's distribution system to buy gimmicky apps that you only use once.

  • Re:And yet... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by lymond01 ( 314120 ) on Monday July 20, 2009 @07:57PM (#28763905)

    I don't personally have an iPhone but from what I have seen it seems like most iPhone apps are half-baked juvenile distractions, rather than anything seriously useful.

    I have the same problem with using NetJets, that personal jet service Roger Federer uses. I'm sure it's just fraught with late departures and stuck up pilots. One is likely always arriving at their destination late or worse, early, and having to stand around with the populous waiting for the limousine.

    How many iPhone app reviewers are there? How long does it take to fully test an application so you don't get sued for allowing something that:

    1) Bricks the phone
    2) Has child porn shoved inside it
    3) Is free, barely does what the description says it will do, and yet you need to waste your time deciding if it's just not broken enough to put up there

    If there are one hundred app reviewers, there are too few.

  • Re:So... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by interkin3tic ( 1469267 ) on Monday July 20, 2009 @08:01PM (#28763943)

    Make sure you click on every story that doesn't involve you, and inform us of how it doesn't relate to you. I find that comments like yours really add to the discussion.

    Your response is not really an issue for those of us who are not Rival.

    This message should be modded up to 5 insightful if recent trends are any indication.

  • by szyzyg ( 7313 ) on Monday July 20, 2009 @08:06PM (#28763981)

    I unlocked my phone within minutes of getting it home. I then proceded to take a look at the apps available via the Cydia store, which is unencumbered by the Apple review process.
    Pretty much everything I tried was garbage with the developers doing just enough to get something ported and then abandoning it regardless of what kind of glaring bugs are in the system, yes the reveiw process is harsh but it does help maintain a minimum level of quality that is bettter than 99% of the apps in the cydia store.
    (still, being able to get low level access to my phone still makes the jailbreak worthwhile)

  • Re:Comparison (Score:3, Insightful)

    by peterwayner ( 266189 ) * <p3NO@SPAMwayner.org> on Monday July 20, 2009 @08:10PM (#28764005) Homepage

    Look around. Palm and Symbian applications can be downloaded from many websites. Here's a website with more than 500 open source Palm apps:

          http://www.palmopensource.com/ [palmopensource.com]

    Microsoft works with a number of stores like Handango.

    If the sandbox is good enough-- and it's not that hard to build a good one-- then any software should be downloadable.

  • Wasted time (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Djupblue ( 780563 ) on Monday July 20, 2009 @08:12PM (#28764011)
    Why would I as a developer put time and hard effort into developing software if I believed there was a good chance it would never even get the chance to be installed?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 20, 2009 @08:12PM (#28764013)

    I sincerely understand both the frustration and the annoynance, but it is almost like the developers are seemingly sitting still and not doing anything while waiting for the approval? I am sure they must be having other stuff to do while waiting for the approval and if the issue is going to be ongoing I suggest their strategy change accordingly although I am not defending Apple here at all. Apple should perhaps change their tactics or at least make it easier for updates to get through (like bugfixes) and the developers should not bet everything on one horse either.

  • by salimma ( 115327 ) on Monday July 20, 2009 @08:14PM (#28764029) Homepage Journal

    ... this example is not necessarily the best way to publish electronic books. Wouldn't it be better to put the book (both editions) up on Amazon Kindle, and let people use the Kindle app for the iPhone?

    Imagine the horror of having a 1,001 authors all packaging their books as separate apps...

  • Re:And yet... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by wizzat ( 964250 ) on Monday July 20, 2009 @08:14PM (#28764033)

    How many of them are good? Well, quite honestly alot more are good than if there was no review process at all. If there wasn't a review process, we'd see apps that ignored or borked your settings, leaked memory like a sieve, chewed through your battery life out of ignorance, or hell - maybe we'd simply be looking at a deluge of carbon copy flashlight and porn apps, making the app store effectively useless. Hell, in my opinion (and I do have an iphone) the app store already has *too many* apps, and the quality on the ones there aren't quite high enough for my liking.

    I suppose you could think of it this way: you're looking for a needle (good app that does what you want) and you can either search in the pin cushion full of mostly needles and a bit of straw or you can search through the whole fricking hay stack yourself. I'll take the pin cushion, thank-you-very-much.

    Also, I'm not sure that you're really qualified to say anything about the relative quality of the app store. You don't, afterall, actually have an iphone.

  • by PopeAlien ( 164869 ) on Monday July 20, 2009 @08:14PM (#28764035) Homepage Journal

    If the results of the review process resulted in less junk cluttering up the appstore than the delays would be more acceptable, but the things they allow are just bizzare. Do they really need almost 400 separate 'supafan' apps from the same developer [appbeacon.com] where the only difference is which celebrity news is being tracked?

  • by silentsteel ( 1116795 ) on Monday July 20, 2009 @08:16PM (#28764047)
    This has been how Apple has done business for years. How much more money could they make if they allowed OS X to be installed on any x86 PC? They do not because they like being in control. You do not purchase a Mac, or an Iphone, you purchase the experience, as regulated by Apple. Right or wrong, this business model is along the path they chose long ago so I doubt that they will change much now. If, as a developer, you do not want to play by their rules, then you can take your software elsewhere. Just as it is their right to do this, it is also your right not to develop for their platform.
  • by AndrewNeo ( 979708 ) on Monday July 20, 2009 @08:19PM (#28764089) Homepage

    Can't you just post a link to a bug tracker in your product description?

  • by peterwayner ( 266189 ) * <p3NO@SPAMwayner.org> on Monday July 20, 2009 @08:20PM (#28764093) Homepage

    Yes, I think this getting at the deep point I was trying to make. Any one company-- even Apple-- can satisfy all of the demands of all of the customers. Many want only quality apps. Some want violence with faux school shootings. (http://www.techcrunch.com/2009/07/20/apple-approves-iphone-app-that-promotes-school-shootings/) Some don't.

    Apple can't make one group happy without angering the other. It's caught in an impossible bind.

    Personally I'm peeved that they approved this school shooting simulator before approving my GOLD app. But what can I say?

  • Re:Good (Score:5, Insightful)

    by timeOday ( 582209 ) on Monday July 20, 2009 @08:29PM (#28764181)
    But it isn't dying a painful death in the marketplace at all, is it? In fact it's flourishing.

    You may recall this story [wired.com] about how Apple thrives under Steve Jobs dictatorial and secretive management style.

    You may even recall the infamous slashdot iPod launch coverage [slashdot.org] in which it was deemed "lame" because it was less feature-rich than the competition.

    This is the history of Apple: there is a market for simple, well-managed products that work out of the box, and maintaining tight proprietary control over the Apple universe is how this is accomplished. I don't know what this says for openness, but there you have it. So long as your use cases aren't too far out of the ordinary, I guess it's worth it to have the trains run on time.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 20, 2009 @08:29PM (#28764187)
    Was the html in his "Application" as bad as what was on that site? Why did I keep seeing the line "<!-- pagebreak -->"? If I was apple, I'd reject an App that was just a piece of bad html too.
  • Re:And yet... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by hedwards ( 940851 ) on Monday July 20, 2009 @08:37PM (#28764257)
    If the iPhone were properly designed it shouldn't be possible to brick via just a software installation. Childporn is a straw man argument, they've been banning things which could be used to access content that doesn't go with Apple's wholesome image whether or not that was the purpose of the app. As for the description being accurate, there are ways that they could handle that without reviewing it formally chances are the reviewers have different standards than what an individual has..
  • Re:And yet... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by BasilBrush ( 643681 ) on Monday July 20, 2009 @08:48PM (#28764363)

    There is nothing abusive about setting standards for the apps they accept. When you agree to the contract to become an iPhone developer, you know they have standards you need to adhere to. Most of us get published without problem. This guy ignores the reasons stated for rejection, tries to hide his tracks, and resubmit the app without remedying the problems. No wonder he gets rejected again and again. This is the behaviour of a loon banging his head against a wall.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 20, 2009 @08:53PM (#28764403)

    So, a guy with mediocre programming skills and even worse writing skills gets his app-that's-really-just-a-book rejected and this means the iPhone is doomed?

    I hear a lot about the app reviewers being jerks and very little about how the rejected apps in these stories aren't the least bit compelling. There may be worse already in the App Store but that doesn't mean all the crap must go in. And it certainly shouldn't make anyone sell their stock in AAPL.

  • Re:And yet... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by jcr ( 53032 ) <jcr.mac@com> on Monday July 20, 2009 @09:03PM (#28764493) Journal

    Yes, but how many of those apps are good?

    What does that have to do with the discussion at hand? Apple doesn't reject apps because they're stupid, they reject them if they fail to comply with the terms stated in the developer program agreement.


  • by CopaceticOpus ( 965603 ) on Monday July 20, 2009 @09:11PM (#28764557)

    Apple's customers are not the app developers. Apple's customers are the iPhone users. So long as there are users waiting in line with money to spend, there will be app developers competing for that money, no matter how arduous the review process may be.

    This will only change when a competitor such as Android offers better apps or better selection than what the Apple store carries. This could happen, but it will take quite some time due to Apple's head start.

  • Re:And yet... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by peterwayner ( 266189 ) * <p3NO@SPAMwayner.org> on Monday July 20, 2009 @09:27PM (#28764645) Homepage

    The real issue is much deeper. You can tell whether all the calls are to legit library entry points, but you can't tell if the calls are somehow malicious You're right. The binary will tell you a few things, but it won't tell you everything. I contend that you can't make firm decisions about that without reading the source.

  • Re:And yet... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by SanityInAnarchy ( 655584 ) <ninja@slaphack.com> on Monday July 20, 2009 @09:57PM (#28764881) Journal

    They could be stifling innovation and promoting innovation at the same time. And indeed, this is what they're doing -- at the same time as they innovate with interesting things like, say, GrandCentral, they also discourage innovation in many ways, like blocking competing phones from synchronizing with iTunes.

    Requiring approval for the App Store could be called many things, but it's not innovative, nor does it promote innovation.

    It brings to mind Sony, who managed to produce a DVD DRM scheme which produced discs designed to be playable in DVD players, but not computers -- and it managed to not be playable in many of Sony's own DVD players.

  • Re:And yet... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by icebike ( 68054 ) on Monday July 20, 2009 @10:10PM (#28764985)

    > So it was fairly random.

    Keep screaming. This issue has too get solved. Its entirely out of hand, and completely broken. I can't imagine any other platform where the platform author can get away with this much restriction and control.

    Safari has no age restrictions. Everybody else's app that embeds web does.

    It needs fixing. Apple's feet need to be held to the fire. The only pressure they understand is public embarrassment in the mainstream press.

  • Re:And yet... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jcr ( 53032 ) <jcr.mac@com> on Monday July 20, 2009 @10:17PM (#28765037) Journal

    Tell-tale strings are a pretty bad way to search for malicious or dangerous applications.

    I'm curious: do you actually expect to get your app approved by arguing about it on /.?

    Write your app with the native API.


  • Re:Good (Score:3, Insightful)

    by n00854180t ( 866096 ) on Monday July 20, 2009 @10:26PM (#28765113)
    WTF are you talking about? No other players in the portable media device market when iPod was introduced? You've got to be fucking kidding me. You must be one of those kids that just bought an iPod when they started getting popular, and doesn't seem to recall the vast stretch of time when Apple had NO presence in MP3 players, despite their ubiquity. All iPod did was make having an MP3 player into a fad for little kids and celebrities, there were PLENTY of MP3 players on the market before the iPod, even if fanboys and small children like yourself can't remember them.
  • Re:Comparison (Score:3, Insightful)

    by n00854180t ( 866096 ) on Monday July 20, 2009 @10:33PM (#28765169)
    WinMo requires you to pay $0. Palm requires you to pay $0. Xbox 360 development requires you to pay the price of the device (MUCH MUCH MUCH less than an iPhone and Mac to dev with) and $50 (and nothing for development tools). You're full of shit. Apple has one of the worst developer programs out there, and most serious developers don't even consider writing apps for the iPhone because of how shit Apple's tools and fees really are. It's not worth having Apple arbitrarily reject your app if you're a developer that actually makes a living off his/her work, which most people making "iFart" for the iPhone aren't.
  • Re:Wasted time (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Manfre ( 631065 ) on Monday July 20, 2009 @10:41PM (#28765225) Homepage Journal

    That plus the fact you have to pay to become a developer and can only develop the apps on a mac (with mac hardware), so that is another financial hurdle. I seriously considered developing iphone apps, but probably of it being a waste of time and money was too high.

  • by spearway ( 169040 ) on Monday July 20, 2009 @10:57PM (#28765315) Homepage

    You are missing the point. Developers wants their cake and eat it. they want both a cheap way of distributing their apps with low level of piracy and complete freedom to publish whatever they want whenever they want. This is just not compatible.

    The truth is that the App Store is a success for the developers and the users because of the abundance of relatively inexpensive applications, typically they are less than half their price on PCs. The main reason is that piracy is very low, but that also mean that someone has to administer the system. Yes the approval process can be improved but it will not disappear as Apple has to take responsibility for the distribution and integrity of the platform. That may be a break for rapid turn around but it is the condition for a functioning market. If you like a comparison the stock exchange can only operate successfully because of the SEC. It may be that in the long term there will be a separation of the approval / regulation process and the retail operation but we are not there yet.

  • Advice to Peter (Score:4, Insightful)

    by magamiako1 ( 1026318 ) on Monday July 20, 2009 @11:13PM (#28765443)
    It's a fucking Ebook. Why the hell do you need javascript?

    From what others have been pointing out you've been trying to do something naughty or odd and you're getting called out on it. You just won't admit that you're at fault and would rather just take the shot at Apple.

    I certainly rather enjoy that you make note to call out Apple for their vague reasons for denying your application, but yet you have not been very open exactly as to what has been rejected. You could very well post the source code to your application if you were this desperate to call Apple out, but you won't, because chances are someone, somewhere, will call bullshit on you. The fact is, that Apple is vague because they might not have all of the source available--but you do. And you are the only one that can change what you're doing, not them.
  • Re:And yet... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by bnenning ( 58349 ) on Monday July 20, 2009 @11:40PM (#28765647)

    It would only be capricious of Apple if they have no reason for rejecting PhoneGap apps. Clearly they DO have reasons.

    The guy in the alley wearing a tinfoil hat and babbling about aliens has reasons too; the question is whether they are legitimate. Of the potential reasons in the article, #1 and #2 appear to be factually incorrect, and #3 (not wanting cross-platform apps) is blatantly anticompetitive and hostile to both developers and users. Unfortunately it's also the most likely given their refusal to explain in any detail; it's not something they would want to publicly admit. Good thing they have plenty of fanboys to give them a pass.

  • Re:And yet... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by westlake ( 615356 ) on Tuesday July 21, 2009 @12:37AM (#28765949)

    Who wants a platform that is so locked down you can't screw it up hacking it? Boooorring

    The guy who needs to make a phone call. The guy who wants everything to just work. The guy who shops at Apple.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 21, 2009 @01:18AM (#28766149)

    This is the same author once again using slashdot [slashdot.org] to advertise one of his books, by blaming someone else for destroying it. First he was whining that pirates were sharing his book on the internet (dubious at best that very many were even interested in downloading it in the first place); now he's whining that Apple won't distribute his book in a cheesy UI software that he wrote without following Apple's guidelines (software that appears useless for anything other than reading his book). Forgive me for thinking it looks an awful lot like he intentionally violated Apple's rules to get the software rejected from the App store so he could use slashdot to plug a book about free software that's almost a decade old -- something people otherwise probably wouldn't go looking for on the App store in the first place.

    By the way, according to this page [wayner.org], the book is already available for free on the App store. Is there a compelling reason the store should have copies of this book in two different display formats?

  • Re:And yet... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by iron-kurton ( 891451 ) on Tuesday July 21, 2009 @01:44AM (#28766269)
    FTA, the guy's app didn't brick the iPhone and had no offensive material. He didn't indicate directly whether it's a paid app, but he did say he made some money off it. So basically, Apple's rejection does not fit all nice and neat in your three bullet points. More to the point, if the platform was totally open, they really wouldn't have to worry about being sued.
  • Re:And yet... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by jcr ( 53032 ) <jcr.mac@com> on Tuesday July 21, 2009 @03:44AM (#28766839) Journal

    the fraction could be pretty large. ...or it could be a couple of dozen people out of a pool of ten thousand. I'm more inclined to believe the latter.


  • Re:And yet... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by malkir ( 1031750 ) on Tuesday July 21, 2009 @04:51AM (#28767145)
    I find it funny that a company who has users that want things to 'just work' would provides those users with such a terrible email system.
    Mail.app, yikes.
  • by shmlco ( 594907 ) on Tuesday July 21, 2009 @05:09AM (#28767225) Homepage

    "The same can't be said for a development studio. If you decide that you are going to commit resources to making an app, you are likely to want a guarantee that it can be released."

    If you're a development house and you commit resources and create a console game, is there an ironclad GUARANTEE that Walmart or Best Buy or Gamestop is going to stock it? No. The game may suck. The game may crash. And so on.

    Just like with music and books and video, just because you create it doesn't mean you're guarenteed to sell it.

  • Re:And yet... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by dzfoo ( 772245 ) on Tuesday July 21, 2009 @06:01AM (#28767505)

    >> "I can't imagine any other platform where the platform author can get away with this much restriction and control."

    Nintendo (SNES, GameCube, DS, Wii)?
    Electronic Arts (on game publishing)?

    I'm sure there are others.


  • Re:And yet... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by COMON$ ( 806135 ) on Tuesday July 21, 2009 @10:08AM (#28769365) Journal
    "Who wants a platform that is so locked down you can't screw it up hacking it"

    This is exactly why OSX is so solid, and why I am a linux/windows admin. Don't mod me troll or flamebait yet, I love OSX because of that, it runs very solidly and I barely ever have to go to my creative department to fix things, but you don't get a mac for its mod ability. But the reason OSX is so great is because it runs in a handful of platforms, so driver and software problems are minimal. I assume they are trying to do the same with the iphone, this will get you a solid device, even though it will be a pain to develop on.

  • Re:And yet... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by BasilBrush ( 643681 ) on Tuesday July 21, 2009 @11:26AM (#28770363)

    Funny, when I go to the store I see an average of two stars. If the average of the fifteen ratings is said to be two stars, how can everyone be one star?

    See the second link. If your average has gone up in the 79 minutes since that script ran, then it probably means you've given it 5 stars yourself since reading it.

    But really, that you are arguing 1 star vs 2 rather than hanging your head in shame at such a pitiful set of reviews says it all.

    Second, many of those complaints appeared while my bug fixes were waiting in the queue. I described my frustration with trying to fix bugs in the piece.

    And I don't think it was a bug as much as a misinterpretation of how to use the system. I like taps on the top and bottom. Other apps like to swipe a finger-- something I find too much work. :-)

    And again idiots trying to do something different and worse than the standard UI is reason for rejecting the app. iPhone scrolls by swiping, that's how all apps should scroll.

    Finally, if we accept for the sake of argument that the app was a pile of manure--something I don't believe

    You don't believe it despite that fact that everyone who's reviewed it says so. Again that reveals a lot about you.

    I hope you give up trying to be a developer.

    than this still bolsters my thesis that the review process is random and can't be trusted.

    No, it means there are yet more legitimate reasons for rejecting your app than you mentioned in your summary. Again, the only mistake Apple made was the one time they accepted a version of this pile of crap.

  • Re:Good (Score:3, Insightful)

    by BasilBrush ( 643681 ) on Tuesday July 21, 2009 @10:58PM (#28777871)

    So... you bought an ipod because someone else had one, if your friend didn't have one you would not have bought an ipod or purchased an MP3 player from another company I assume?.

    Indeed. I bought because I tried the product. Not because of ANY form of marketing.

    Market droids call this "word of mouth" and it is a commonly used form of marketing, please see "grass roots", "astroturfing" and "word of mouth campaigns" for more information.

    You don't know what you are talking about. Astroturfing is FAKE grass roots. There is nothing fake about my friend or my trial of his iPod. Again NO marketing of any kind involved. I bought because I tried the product, not because of any marketing whatsoever.

    Presumably you never try any product before you buy, otherwise your warped logic condemns yourself to being a slave to the marketing message.

    Now this is just plain wrong, the market doesn't give a fat rats clacker about UI.

    Actually that is only true of immature markets, and of the bottom end of the market. As markets mature, design matters.

    As I said in my last post, I've yet to meet a fanboy who can tell me how the ipod interface is superior to my Iriver X20.

    If you call them fanboys, most are probably ignoring you. Personally I haven't seen an iRiver in donkey's years. But back then, scrolling was inferior, and you had to manually drag and drop MP3 files from one place to another, rather than have them automatically sync with your computer.

    The Irivers interface is fine

    And the iPod's UI is and always has been great. There's the difference.

    I've also yet to meet an Audio Engineer who will recommend an ipod for quality (I'll admit my sample size is 2, but they both tell me the same thing).

    True. iPods are only average quality for audio. And yet the design (UI and industrial) they still sell far better than any competitor. You add to my argument.

What is algebra, exactly? Is it one of those three-cornered things? -- J.M. Barrie