Digital Journal reported on evocative words from former Apple executive Michael Hageloh this week. It’s a fantastic article, which we suggest reading in full here – but the long and the short of it is that Mr Hageloh is saying apps now have a pretty special and important place in the world. And for anyone involved in the app industry, that is good to read.
Apple has come on a long journey yet its app store is only six years old, so to say that apps have effectively become the beating heart of one of the world’s biggest brands is a significant statement to make. One of the key remarks made by Hageloh was this: “The App Store represents a turning point in the democratization of technology. It represents the iOS platform being opened up for collaboration and creativity. It’s not just Apple developers telling consumers what they can and can’t do with their devices, but also enabling them to have an input in shaping what Apple devices are capable of.”
“There’s no such thing as a free lunch” is an old saying that dates back to the 19th century, when American bars would offer a “free lunch” to get patrons through the door and buying drinks – the saying lives on to this day and is applied to pretty much anything where there’s a cost or “catch” involved in something that’s promoted as free.
The phrase could be applied to certain apps on the market. Those where you download a free game, but then find yourself constantly prompted to pay for upgrades and enhancements.
Well, the EU Commission is making it slightly trickier for app stores to advertise such apps as “free”, with a lengthy directive that includes the recommendation “Games advertised as “free” should not mislead consumers about the true costs involved.”
It appears that one of the main prompts for this move has been the old issues of children being advertised to, and children making accidental purchases.
A number of sources reported this week that Google Play has already conducted a review and removed the “Free” tag from any apps that feature in-app purchases.
There Are No Words
A shameful piece of app news reached us this week. A number of media outlets were understandably outraged when a game entitled “MH17 Strikes Back” appeared on Google Play, following the fatal crash of the Malaysia Airlines plane carrying that flight number.
It appears that the developers of the existing game “Transporter Plane Strikes Back” decided to do a spot of re-branding as the world reeled from the tragedy. The game involves an aircraft flying over terrain and trying to avoid missiles fired from below, as well as firing back at targets on the ground. A message on the game states its condolences to the victims and proposes that it is a way to “express your anger and rememberance of all passengers and crews.” It is also said to be loaded with pop up ads, which further undermines an already weak attempt at making this look like some sort of tribute.
We’re not ones for getting on high horses here, but this oversteps the mark. The main issue is of course the offence to the grief stricken relatives of the victims, but as a footnote it is also an insult to everyone in app development who works hard to provide genuine entertainment, information and services to the world when the market is abused in this way.