Tuesday, July 7, 2009

The Business of Rejecting iPhone Apps

Despite a technical framework to deploy streaming video on the new 3GS, who's really blocking the apps from the store - AT&T or Apple?

After a protracted discovery phase, mobile has finally found it's place in the world, and it's not janky flip phone games or ringtones, rather rapid content delivery. The lone video of the Virginia Tech shootings was caught on a video-enabled phone. Michael Jackson's death brought Twitter to its knees (twice). The first images of the plane crash in the Hudson were posted to TwitPic. In each of these instances the first, if not only, media capture around these events came not from news vans, but citizen journalists. They didn't do it for money or fame, but to simply share what was happening in the world.

Sensing this emerging wave of mobile content, a company called qik (thanks to killer coworker @stevenmaguire for sharing) developed an application to access the video fed from mobile phones and stream it live through their site at qik. Simply point, shoot and stream.

Consider the alternative for web streaming: the copious effort required to take an HVX on-site, plug in to a laptop and then rely on available wifi, PCS mobile card or a hardwire, then connect to your streaming server of choice. Or. or, you could just launch the qik app and hit stream from your iPhone 3GS, already connected to 3G or wifi and be ready to go. But, you can't do that because the app has been rejected. Great app that truly supports and benefits the larger community, no malicious code or porn, so why was it rejected?

There's no doubt the heart of the issue with qik is predicated on bandwidth. As noted in the above video, XM/Sirius, SlingPlayer and Skype all faced repeated rejections over streaming bandwidth concerns. When it comes to bandwidth it's easy to blame AT&T, but they don't own the app store. That's Apple. So why would Apple reject an app on bandwidth? That really doesn't seem like the kind application facet they should worry about. Moreover, it positively stresses to their carrier partners that there needs to be continual upgrades to the networks as they have no intent on pulling back.

As a young Barak Obama requests above (Ed. note: not really Barak Obama) sign the petition (link below) and help empower the next wave of mobile content, in real-time, streaming video.

Sign the Twitition

p.s. priceless introduction of date, time, newsie front page info a la Dr. Emmit Brown.

p.p.s. Want to buy that unbelievably awesome iPhone lens/mic attachment that also looks like a Sony camera and Xbox controller GOT.IT. ON.? Pre-order: http://www.wantowle.com/Want.html


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