Are you developing for iPhone?

A question for the game developers out there: are you now or are you planning to develop for the iPhone/iPod touch platform? And why or why not?

This might not be as big a deal to game developers as other developers, but anyone who’s developing anything for the iPhone right now that needs any resources beyond a guy coding for fun in his spare time should be pretty wary of the current mess regarding application approval.

If you haven’t been following along at home, a podcasting app was rejected by Apple on the grounds that “since Podcaster assists in the distribution of podcasts, it duplicates the functionality of the Podcast section of iTunes” (link).

There are all sorts of problems with this, possibly the most obvious being it’s lame that Apple is rejecting an app just because it duplicates (read: competes with) Apple’s own functionality (nevermind the fact that Podcaster actually doesn’t simply duplicate what the iPhone can do, it does a great deal more), but the more worrisome problem is that no where was this forbidden in Apple’s terms for developing apps*. Previously Apple rejected a whoopee cushion style app for no clear reason, which seemed strange but trivial at the time, but now people are starting to get nervous about Apple rejecting apps.

Who in their right mind would pour any time, much less funding, into developing an app for the iPhone when they won’t know until it’s done if they’ll even be allowed to distribute it?

I said this might not be as big a deal to games, my thinking being they’re less likely to get rejected in a Podcaster-scenario of Apple claiming duplicate functionality (especially when they’re really marketing the games aspect of the new iPod Touches), but the underlying problem of Apple rejecting apps for reasons that aren’t established up front should make everyone worried. I hope Apple addresses this as near to immediately as possible.

*I haven’t read the terms myself, I’m going after the commentary I’ve been reading on Daring Fireball, here and here mostly.

On the near future ,were probably do some iPhone applications prototypes.
Right now i have the SDK and all, but dont have the time to start doing anything. :(

Yeah, Apple seems to be highly irregular in the way they approve or disapprove apps. They punted that podcasting one mentioned above but allow 100 “tip calculation” apps to exist. It seems highly random at this point as Apple is operating in a way that isn’t known to the developers so they have no idea if the time they’re investing is a waste or not. They only know that when the YES or NO comes back from the approval department.

This might not be as big a deal to game developers as other developers, but anyone who’s developing anything for the iPhone right now that needs any resources beyond a guy coding for fun in his spare time should be pretty wary of the current mess regarding application approval.

This was my concern.

I’m a “casual” game developer – web primarily, recently branching out into other areas. I really considered the iPhone, but Apple’s track record with games (really showing no interest in them at all) and the weirdness with the iphone store scared me off.

Apple’s whole M.O. is about promoting their own seamlessly integrated applications, I’m not sure their brand or corporate culture really meshes well with the world of 3rd party content.

Just wait until they release iPong, and then kill all existing 3rd party game apps and start sending any new game developers the “duplicating functionality” denial letter of death.

I was considering it at one point, but I don’t see the interface working for what I want, lack of time, and developer support in general.

I was interested in developing for the iphone until I found out you needed a mac to do it. If I buy an iphone, I’d definitely fuck around with making little games – but not if developing comes with a minimum $1300 pricetag.

edit: Cost of the cheapest macbook coupled with some tax.

I was interested in developing for the iphone until I found out you needed a mac to do it.

That should have been fairly clear just from a basic marketing perspective. Apple (like Microsoft) wants you developing for their platforms ON their platforms.

That is a great way to lure game developers to their system, let me tell you!

Charles, surely you’re not forgetting about Marathon and all those other great Mac gam…

nevermind.

That is a great way to lure game developers to their system, let me tell you!

Not sure they’re interested in that, to be honest. Most of the stuff in the app store isn’t games. In my view, Apple doesn’t see games as the path to success on their various platforms. It’s applications and lifestyle/productivity stuff (photos, music, streaming, etc)

I’m testing for a small developer and they are waiting 4 weeks or so for any app update approval. Very frustrating for them.

Yes, but they are starting to chat it up as a gaming machine as well, see the last mac event, showing spore, talking about how awesome it is for gaming, etc.

Certainly they are interested in capturing a share of the handheld gaming market. But apparently not interested enough to make their stuff accessible.

Yes, but they are starting to chat it up as a gaming machine as well, see the last mac event, showing spore, talking about how awesome it is for gaming, etc.

Eh, they always say that but they don’t really mean it (looking at track record, anyway). Not sure why they keep coming back to it year after year if they aren’t going to follow through.

Certainly they are interested in capturing a share of the handheld gaming market. But apparently not interested enough to make their stuff accessible.

Microsoft does the same thing. You can’t develop Windows apps on a Mac or Linux, right?

The iPhone is actually running OSX with Cocoa libraries and apps are written in Objective-C. Making some sort of emulation environment for the PC to woo a handful of developers who want to develop iPhone stuff on Windows would be a huge nightmare.

All of Apple’s dev tools are based on the gnu/gcc/llvm platform which works fine in cross-compile mode under Windows, so it would actually not be hard for them to support this. In fact, you already can do iPhone development on Windows using the unofficial toolkit SDK as long as you don’t mind jailbreaking your iPhone and being non-legit and you can access all of the iPhone’s APIs this way… in fact, you can access more of the internal APIs using the unofficial toolchain than you can with the official SDK.

Not supporting Windows-based iPhone development is political, not technical.

Having said that… Charles could get a Mac Mini for a lot less than $1300.

Apples and oranges. The vast majority of game developers (because I am specifically talking about game development here) already develop on Microsoft’s platform. Even for PS3/Wii/etc development.

The iPhone is actually running OSX with Cocoa libraries and apps are written in Objective-C. Making some sort of emulation environment for the PC to woo a handful of developers who want to develop iPhone stuff on Windows would be a huge nightmare.

Apparently not.

Yeah, $750. But then I can’t use my PC at the same time, unless I’m out buying extra hardware on top of that, which would even out the price. Anyway, even $750 is too much for just fucking around and seeing if I like it enough to do it.

I definitely want to develop for the iPhone. Just don’t have enough time right now.

Both political and technical, I suspect.

There’d be quite a bit of work involved in porting the dev environment to Windows. Sure, the compiler would be easy, but there are a number of other components to the toolchain–Interface Builder, XCode, etc.

It would be a Very Big Deal™.