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.

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