Under The Microscope

Airfoil Speakers Touch 1.0.2 Is Now Available

Airfoil for Mac IconToday, we’re pleased to announce that Airfoil Speakers Touch 1.0.2 is now available in the App Store, as well as Airfoil for Mac 3.4.3 to go with it. This update restores functionality we reluctantly removed at the behest of Apple, in order to ship Airfoil Speakers Touch 1.0.1. Following a conversation with Apple last week, we submitted this update to Airfoil Speakers Touch on Friday, and it has already been approved (in one of the shortest reviews we’ve ever seen).

If you’re already using Airfoil and Airfoil Speakers Touch, please update for free now. Just choose Check For Update from the Airfoil menu, or click to download from our site to update Airfoil. To update Airfoil Speakers Touch, just visit the App Store. Updates take some time to roll out across Apple’s servers, so if 1.0.2 isn’t yet available, just check back in a few hours.

If you’d like to understand more about what happened, we’ve prepared a helpful Q&A below:

Q: What changed in Airfoil Speakers Touch 1.0.2?

A: With Airfoil 3.4.3 and Airfoil Speakers Touch 1.0.2, we’re once again showing the computer artwork and application icons from your sending computer, as seen below.

Q: What changed? Why is this allowed now?

A: Following our post detailing the ordeal we had getting Airfoil Speakers Touch 1.0.1 through the store, we were contacted by Apple. They indicated that, due in part to our post, they were changing their internal policies and would allow the desired behavior and artwork to be displayed.

In short, they changed their minds.

Q: Is the developer SDK agreement being changed? Did you receive a special exemption?

A: No, this is purely a change to Apple’s internal policies, which are opaque to developers. We received no special exemption; the policy is purportedly global, applying to all developers.

Q: But I heard Airfoil Speakers Touch was violating the SDK agreement, and that the rejection of version 1.0.1 was wholly correct.

A: Reality tells a different story. Judging by Phil Schiller’s comments to Business Week, Apple had overly-strict internal policies on appropriate use of Apple trademarks. These policies failed to account for many entirely reasonable uses of trademarks, and have now been relaxed.

Q: So why did Apple forbid this behavior in Airfoil Speakers Touch 1.0.1?

A: Their internal policies told them to. As for why the policies said that, you’d have to ask Apple. The developer-signed SDK agreement remains unchanged.

Q: What about all those people who said Apple was forced to do this to defend their trademarks?

A: We’re not lawyers, but it would appear that Apple now disagrees with this viewpoint.

Q: Why did Apple change their minds?

A: Again, only Apple can tell you their exact reasons. In our conversation with them, they indicated that our blog post, linked across the web and seen by tens of thousands of readers, was a force for change here. As for other problems that don’t generate this much exposure and backlash? They may be less likely to be fixed, and that’s unfortunate.

Q: But this particular change is a good thing, right?

A: Sure. Previously, there was an inconsistency between what Apple’s SDK agreement said, and what their internal policies dictated. That particular inconsistency appears to be gone now.

Q: Does this mean you’ve changed your mind and will develop more iPhone applications?

A: It does not. The problems of the App Store go well beyond our own relatively minor case. We pushed this update to Airfoil Speakers Touch out because we wanted to restore functionality we had to take away from our users. We’re happy to be able to do that.

That said, the App Store and iPhone platform still have myriad problems, detailed in many places. Among other issues, the potential remains for months of effort to be wasted as an app sits in limbo, or is never even released. As well, the long lead times needed before updates reach users are still in place.

At this time, we don’t believe it makes good business sense for us to commit much in the way of resources to the iPhone. We’ll make sure our existing applications continue to function, of course, but that’s all we have planned for now.

Q: When will you return to iPhone development?

A: If and when we feel it makes good business sense, we’ll again develop for the iPhone. We don’t have our heads in the sand, nor are we blind to the enormity of this platform. That said, the Mac still remains a much more developer-friendly platform, and that’s where we’ll be concentrating our resources.

20 Responses to “Airfoil Speakers Touch 1.0.2 Is Now Available”

  1. Glenn Fleishman says:

    Fundamentally, per that last question, Apple doesn’t provide a predictable response to well-written conforming programs.

    Which means you could be one guy in a garage with a full-time job, slamming out iPhone code for months in your spare time, or a $1 billion-per-year game developer — and you still (apparently) have no assurance that the development work you do will be approved by Apple.

    The vast majority of the time, it is. However, for any individual or firm, the odds should be 100 percent that any conforming application is always approved in a reasonable amount of time.

    Nearly all other closed development processes like the App Store, such as on other mobile platforms or in closed licensed systems where plug-ins are certified and such, well-known developers have different rights than those who are fresh to the process; developers can pay for escalation of cases or care; and there’s a generally complete expectation that any legitimate program will be released into the closed system.

    I started development on an iPhone app a year ago that never reached fruition. I was planning to invest several thousand dollars into development, and perhaps have to buy a new high-end server if demand had arrived. At every moment, I was concerned as a small businessman that my investment would be entirely wasted. (In the end, Amazon would have scuppered the app due to a change in its mobile app terms!)

  2. Anonymous says:

    The rules Steve Jobs discussed when announcing the app store were quite reasonable, and I think developers wouldn’t object to them if that’s what Apple was actually using. But that clearly isn’t the case.

    I’ve been working on an app for the iPhone for several months now. We’ve even talked about it with Apple. But even given verbal approval (which is not something most developers get) I still don’t have any confidence it’ll be approved in a sane way. (And I’m posting anonymously so as not to piss them off.)

  3. Jared Crawford says:

    Was any indication given if apps using other Apple “owned” logos would be acceptable?

    For example, some developers have received rejections for using the likeness of an iPhone within their icons.

    http://theappleblog.com/2009/04/22/apple-you-cant-use-images-of-the-iphone-on-the-iphone/

    Thanks for being a vocal supporter of reform and congrats on your success.

  4. Buck says:

    This is tremendous news for us, as we are doing a very similar thing in our app (pulling the computer icon via API). Since your last blog post we were sweating bullets because the alternative for us was a much, much poorer UI experience.

    Thank you very much for bringing this to light!

  5. Potential Customer says:

    So with your lack of commitment to the iPhone platform so well articulated, why should I spend any money on Airfoil? If it breaks with some future firmware update, is your company going to stand behind the product, or leave its customers dangling?

    Good on you for getting Apple to respond to this; I think you made a good case for why the images exposed by Cocoa APIs should be usable. Unfortunately, I think you’ve undermined confidence in your products along the way. Now that Apple has done its damage control for the App Store, I think you need to do the same.

  6. antibond says:

    I don’t think “enormity” means what you think it means.

  7. Paul Kafasis says:

    Glenn Fleishman, Anonymous: Right, and that’s a very real problem. On the Mac (or Windows, or the web, or Android, or…), if you make an app, you get to ship it. It will succeed or fail on its own merits. Here, that’s not the case, and that’s a problem.

    Jared Crawford: No, but it seems likely that these sorts of rejections will also cease. Time will tell, however.

    Buck: Glad to hear we could help others as well. Good luck with your app!

    Potential Customer: Airfoil is a Mac application – the iPhone application is a simple add-on, one that provides additional functionality for Airfoil, but is hardly necessary to use Airfoil. Airfoil is fully supported, with a roadmap for many future updates.

    Airfoil Speakers Touch is still available for download, and we have no intention of simply abandoning it – that’s evidenced by these two updates. However, as we’ve said before, we’ll be focusing on the Mac. That doesn’t mean we’re abandoning the application, it simply means we have no plans for future features in it at this time.

    antibond: I think it does:

    http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/enormity

    3 : the quality or state of being huge : immensity

    No comment as to whether definition number 2 also fits.

  8. Derek says:

    Good news but i’m still bumed out that you guys don’t want to work on appstore app anymore. I would love to see a pro version of airfoil touch that would let me stream music to my other airfoil speakers.

  9. Dave Mac says:

    I wonder if my email to Steve Jobs had anything to do with it? I actually was writing to describe my switch to a Mac, and threw in a link to the blog post as one of my complaints. Although I doubt Steve read it himself, maybe it added fuel to the fire!

  10. OddyOh says:

    Cool. I had emailed Apple under the guise of iPod Touch feedback, and told them to rectify this situation before they lose a very good Mac developer on their mobile platform. Power of the pen I guess. :)

    Here’s hoping time heals all wounds and you guys can still crank out several mobile titles, assuming you’re leaving a lot of money on the table. Not sure what else Apple can do for you, but if the time comes, I’ll be happy to put in another word with them.

    If you need some ideas, I wish you had a mobile version of Fission, so I could cut edit funny bits of podcasts on the go and place them in my Dropbox. That probably violates all kinds of rules though, too bad.

  11. garymca says:

    I would like to see you produce an app for iPhone that does the reverse of Airfoil Speakers Touch. I want Airfoil for iPhone, so that music on my iPhone can be played wirelessly over speakers attached to my Airport Express, the same as what I can do with my laptop.

  12. Mike Ash says:

    garymca: Airfoil for iPhone has been on our minds for a while, but it’s just not practical. We wrote a post about the reasons: http://www.rogueamoeba.com/utm/2008/12/12/thoughts-on-airfoil-for-iphone/

    While that post is nearly a year old now, the limitations it discusses haven’t changed at all.

  13. Kevin Munoz says:

    I had considered buying the iPhone app, and other Rogue Amoeba Airfoil software, but I have decided against it. I cannot trust the future support and development of a company that has walked away from an entire platform, after a single incident. You write that “we don’t believe it makes good business sense for us to commit much in the way of resources to the iPhone.” I don’t believe it makes good consumer sense for me to commit much in the way of money to Rogue Amoeba. Good luck with your other customers.

  14. John Thomson says:

    Thanks for updating this.
    I use a mac & PC.
    i can’t get the iphone app to work with airfoil for windows via windows 7. Should I be able to?
    Thanks,
    John

  15. Jim Hillhouse says:

    Paul, the problem was that you were using images that were allowed under the Mac developers agreement but not the iPhone developers agreement. It’s too bad that >90% of the posters here don’t know the difference between NSImage or UIImage, “Mac OS X” and “iPhone”, and haven’t read the “Registered iPhone Developer Agreement” or more specifically “Guidelines For Using Apple Trademarks and Copyrights”.

    I know you guys are not lawyers, but you don’t need to be one to understand that understand that, under Part 8 of the Agreement,

    10. Use Of Apple Trademarks, Logos, etc. You agree to follow Apple’s Guidelines For Using Apple Trademarks and Copyrights as published on Apple’s website at http://www.apple.com/legal/guidelinesfor3rdparties.html and as may be modified from time to time. You agree not to use the marks “Apple,” the Apple Logo, “iPhone,” “iPod touch” or any other marks belonging or licensed to Apple in any way except as expressly authorized in writing by Apple in each instance. You agree that all goodwill arising out of your authorized use of Apple’s marks shall inure to the benefit of and belong to Apple.

    or more specifically under the Guidelines,

    2. Apple Logo and Apple-owned Graphic Symbols: You may not use the Apple Logo or any other Apple-owned graphic symbol, logo, or icon on or in connection with web sites, products, packaging, manuals, promotional/advertising materials, or for any other purpose except pursuant to an express written trademark license from Apple, such as a reseller agreement.

    And talking about using NSImage constants is a bit misleading. Why? Because the NSImage constants, e.g. NSImageNamedMobileMe, are not there in UIImage. Why not? Because the iPhone developers agreement did not allow their use until today. You guys should have known you were heading for trouble on that alone.

    I’m glad that RA managed to influence Apple to lighten-up on the use of Apple copyrighted images in iPhone apps, something previously not allowed. I agree that such a restriction was silly. Still, your troubles in getting your 1.0.1 update were largely of your own making as you were trying to push a string with Apple on an issue to which RA had no rights. You won the war-of-words–kudos.

    But to other lesser-known iPhone developers, of which I am definitely one, the rule is…follow your iPhone (not Mac!) developers agreement and do not count on Apple changing its mind. If Apple tells us to change something in our app then consider which is more important, income or arguing.

  16. Carlos says:

    Still can get to see graphics from a PC using Airfoil!
    Is there an Airfoil PC update coming soon?

  17. Dave Mac says:

    Jim Hillhouse… If you read all of the posts, you would find that RA did not use any of the NSImage code in the iPhone app. It was in the Mac app, of which the picture was sent to the iPhone. Not much different that a web view or VLC stream.

  18. Tristan says:

    I encourage you to at least look into developing for Android, should you have the desire to bring a mobile app to market in the future.

    A version of AirFoil speakers for android would be great, and the market for it is growing rapidly. I’d be first in line, as a Mac user with an Android phone, happy with both.

  19. Soth says:

    This is a good thing. People who give up at first rejection and go out in the press to slam apple aren’t commited enough to their apps. All they see is money and often they play on the apple brand and icons to make their app seem more official then actually develop their own art and brand.

    There is no mass exodus of developers. Alot of them have no trouble at all with submitting apps. Also thank god for the review process or we would have had an appstore flooded with 500000 apps about nothing right now. Thank god that apple has removed app spammers who just put up different versions of the same app or apps making a funny sound when you press 1 button and nothing more.

  20. Marty Gough says:

    I’m so glad that this story has a happy ending! There’s hope!

    I just posted about another rejection for following Apple’s rules. Unfortunately, the only people this will hurt is our users.

    http://www.juicybitssoftware.com/2009/11/30/apple-is-rejecting-its-own-advice/


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