Published stuff

Something a bit different for my Stuff column this week: EV sounds need to alert us, not entertain us. I don’t need every car having its own cinematic score parping out. I also added Kino to my best iPhone apps list.

Over at TapSmart, Apple might have forgotten about AR, but I haven’t, and I dig into the best AR apps for iPhone. And video editor LumaFusion becomes the latest entry in my classic apps series.

Other stuff: or iDOS think Apple hath a problem

Back in April, I wrote:

I want more: a world where iPads and Apple TVs are havens for emulators for everything from classic arcade titles to obscure home micros. But Apple’s rules explicitly talk of ‘retro console games’. What does that mean for DOSBox, FinalBurn Neo, Retroarch, or an Apple II emulator? We’ve no way to know. 

Well, we know now. iDOS 3 was rejected from the App Store, with Apple citing that iDOS is “not a retro game console”. The thing is, nor is the C64. But there are C64 emulators on the App Store. And nor is the ZX81. But Apple approved a ZX81 emulator. And nor is the MSX. Yet there’s an MSX emulator on the App Store. You get the idea.

Yet again, Apple rules are incoherent and inconsistently applied. Yet again, developers have no idea if they decide to work on a really great product in this space (or any space, given Apple’s “we’ll know it when we see it” approach) whether Apple will reject it. No wonder most of the initial slew of emulators have been churnware.

This also makes me increasingly think that the only reason Apple opened this space up on the App Store was the screw with AltStore, which still hasn’t had a single approved third-party app. But there, Delta was the headline act – the thing everyone wanted, as evidenced by it topping the App Store charts for days.

But now people on iPhone have some emulators, perhaps they’re satisfied. So job done for Apple, I suppose. But there are still questions. Not “will we ever get mini vMac or an Apple II emulator for iPhone?” because I think we all know the answer to that. But what about MAME for iOS, which is currently in limbo? MAME is not a “retro game console”. But then again, nor is FBA, and a version of that already exists on the App Store. And will Apple clamp down on RetroArch and demand it remove cores that clash with the rules and approvals it’s haphazardly applied elsewhere?

That said, all this assumes Apple is even remotely aware of what RetroArch actually is or does, what old hardware is or isn’t a games console (good luck anyone working on an iPhone 8-bit Atari emulator), and what each individual emulator emulates. Ultimately, Apple doesn’t really care about any of this stuff, and that’s the real problem.