When it debuted in 2007, the iPhone offered only a limited selection of apps, all designed and natively distributed by Apple. The door was then more than closed to other developers, Steve Jobs wishing at the time to keep control of all the services included with the mobile. The leader was just ready to authorize the creation of web pages to be read in the proprietary Safari browser.
Some, however, like Pandora (competitor of Spotify and Apple Music unavailable in France), were counting on doing well by still allowing consumers to enjoy their catalog from their cellphones. The solution was then quite found …
Force entry to find a place in the market
Scott Forstall, at the time boss of iOS, had the opportunity to speak with Tim Westergren (CTO of Pandora) when the iPhone had just landed in the United States. The latter clarified his questions about the technical impossibility for his company to join Messages, Notes and other basic apps offered on the smartphone.
Forstall’s response? Just use the “backdoors* ”Already identified to develop the platform, so that it is ready when Apple finally chooses to officially open the App Store to third parties a few months later. And that’s what happened, Pandora becoming one of the first apps to join the library in 2008 after having presented it with a fait accompli. As for Forstall, he will be fired after the Apple Plans fiasco in 2012.
To learn more about this anecdote, do not hesitate to consult the paper of Vice on the subject.
But even today, there are still heavy barriers to entry for any publisher who would like to give it a shot. First of all, you should know that iOS charges 30% on all in-app purchases; that’s his income model. On the other hand, a multitude of contents are still prohibited on iPhone, Mac and iPad such as those which deal with health from certain angles, pornography, drugs, gambling or even harsh criticisms of religion.