Apple removes Scratch from iPad/iPhone/iTouch

April 15, 2010 at 10:41 am 125 comments

A real bummer — Apple removed Scratch from the iTunes store, so it’s no longer available for iPad, iPhone, or iTouch.  Why?  Discussion on the Scratch forums suggests that it’s because Apple wants to focus on consuming media using these devices, not producing media.  Want to be truly computing literate, where you write as well as read?  There’s no app for that.

I saw this coming. Apple has banned all third party software from creating ipod apps. What they did to scratch was nothing compared to what they did to Adobe. Flash CS5’s biggest feature was the ability to make flash programs for the iphone and because Apple has banned this the usefulness of flash CS5 has gone down a lot.

Its a business decision. Apple wants to be in complete control of what can make apps for their machines so they ban all app creators except their own. Of course, they can take all the hate from developers because the mindless Apple legions will still love them.

via Scratch Forums / Apple hurt me right in the heart.

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125 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Ian Bogost  |  April 15, 2010 at 10:46 am

    The consuming/producing thing is one angle, but I think this has more to do with Apple’s apparent desire to control what kinds of programming environments are “valid” for running things on the iPhone.

    After all, in a purely technical sense, the iPhone Scratch Player is also a media consumption device. It just consumes Scratch compositions instead of music or video or what have you.

    Reply
  • 2. thinkingwiththings  |  April 15, 2010 at 10:58 am

    Tragic. Guess I’ll have to cancel that iPad order! Maybe there can be an underground network of contraband Scratch-for-iTouch programs.

    Reply
  • 3. Alfred Thompson  |  April 15, 2010 at 11:19 am

    This strikes me as very shortsighted on Apple’s part. I know they are focused on consumer but Scratch is the sort of tool that would make iPads more attractive in education. I should be happy at Apple shooting themselves in the foot but I’m more disappointed that they are closing the door to a useful learning tool.

    Reply
  • 4. Alan Kay  |  April 15, 2010 at 11:33 am

    Yep, this is really bad — and could backfire on them.

    Cheers (or not)

    Alan

    Reply
    • 5. Mimar  |  April 25, 2010 at 2:07 pm

      Surely it will. (backfire)
      My God, I’m conversing with Alan Kay, the only person other than Steve himself who could turn things on!

      Reply
  • 6. Michael Kölling  |  April 15, 2010 at 12:14 pm

    I think Scratch is collateral damage here. They had to take it off (by their own twisted logic), because their new policy states that all apps have to be developed “originally” for iPhone (using C, C++ or Objective-C). Nothing else.

    I don’t think it’s a consumer/producer move, or intentionally against education, but a side result of a business move that tries to exploit a dominant market position by shutting out competitors (by prohibiting cross platform tools).

    A really painful, stupid move in many ways, not the least because of these side effects. Logical (to some extent) from a profit-maximising perspective, just plain wrong is so many other ways…

    Michael

    Reply
  • 7. Barry Brown  |  April 15, 2010 at 2:20 pm

    This may be a stretch, but isn’t Apple’s own Keynote app akin to a programming language? After all, by developing a presentation you are programming the computer to display slides in a certain order, respond to simple interaction events, and possibly use some transition effects.

    Similar arguments could be made for word processors, email apps, movie editors, etc.

    I haven’t used Scratch for the iPhone/iPad, but if it was making standalone apps, I can see Apple’s argument. On the other hand, if the Scratch programs could only be run within the Scratch environment, Apple’s got some ‘splaining to do.

    Reply
    • 8. Matt  |  April 16, 2010 at 10:54 am

      Apple is not bound by the developers’ agreement, so sadly I doubt your point makes a difference from a legal perspective.

      Reply
  • 9. Casey Ransberger  |  April 15, 2010 at 3:43 pm

    Apple wants one thing: control of the distribution channel. Any other excuse they make is a damned lie. What this company needs right now is real competition in the consumer electronics space; I’m looking forward to developing Squeak applications on the Android platform!

    Reply
    • 10. Kevin Ballard  |  April 15, 2010 at 9:53 pm

      This has nothing at all to do with distribution. I can’t even imagine why you think the programming language used is related to the distribution channel.

      You may find the following article helpful in understanding the likely motivation for the change to section 3.3.1 (especially likely as Steve Jobs himself said that Gruber’s article was good): http://daringfireball.net/2010/04/why_apple_changed_section_331

      Reply
      • 11. Dave  |  April 16, 2010 at 3:22 am

        Gruber’s an Apple apologist. I’m an Apple developer and I find this behaviour disgraceful.

        Reply
      • 12. Kit  |  April 16, 2010 at 7:24 am

        I could write a Scratch app that presented external content. Apple wouldn’t have any control over what I presented. And yes, I know, “what about Safari?” Which demonstrates neatly how screwed Apple’s logic is. See here for more Apple-inspired insanity.

        Reply
      • 13. Tom Ross  |  April 17, 2010 at 7:11 am

        @Kit:
        The moment you find a fault in your claim that Apple is about total control, you should not conclude that Apple’s logic is screwed. You should retract your claim because you disproved it yourself.

        The iPhone offers dual access for third party content: Web+Apps. Web is liberal, Apps are controlled. Apple has heavily promoted their mobile web browser since January 2007, so this is not a coincidence.

        If you want to casually learn programming using the iPad, start with HTML or one of the highly regarded web languages like Python or Ruby.

        Reply
        • 14. Rob Poole  |  February 1, 2011 at 5:49 pm

          Unfortunately, calling Python and Ruby “web languages” in this case is both disingenuous and demonstrates a lack of understanding of how Python and Ruby development work.

          Credible development in these languages strongly requires an IDE (or an editor and a command line) and an execution environment, and both of these would be problematic to deliver on the iPad (especially the latter, since Apple forbids interpreters and virtual machine implementations per its App Store restrictions). Generally speaking, you want to run some kind of a server environment locally which can execute Python or Ruby code and render out HTML, if you’re using these languages for “web” development.

          Once you have your app working, you can upload the content to some external server environment that’s live on a network where others can hit it. But it is generally ill advised to try and directly publish things before trying them out in your local environment.

          When you consider that Python and Ruby have a lot to them that has nothing to do with “web development,” and then consider that credible web development with either language still requires access to console output and logs (especially since development requires, you know, debugging), the iPad doesn’t really bring much to the table. It’s just a mostly-dumb input-output device at that point.

          If by “learn programming using the iPad” you mean “do all the development on a desktop computer and then use the iPad to view the results of a running web app,” then the iPad serves little to no function except as a final stage of quality control: does this thing render properly in Safari on an iPad? You could substitute any other web enabled device for iPad and you’d be just as accurate. On the plus side, this does mean that your web app, if properly written, works fine on anything with a standards-compliant browser.

          The whole reason Apple opened iOS devices up to 3rd party apps was because there was demand for them — demand that would not be satisfied by web-based apps. It is therefore disingenous to suggest that the web paradigm of development would somehow be acceptable when others have found that it is not so.

          And I personally think Kit is spot-on when he claims that Apple’s logic is screwed up, because Safari can expose the user to all kinds of objectionable content, whereas an app that exposes the same content can be banned from the App Store. I know the App Store is curated, but it seems unreasonable that network-sourced content can be treated two different ways depending on which application pulls it.

          Reply
          • 15. John M McIntosh  |  February 1, 2011 at 7:04 pm

            “(especially the latter, since Apple forbids interpreters and virtual machine implementations per its App Store restrictions).”

            This is an incorrect statement, you can have interpreters and virtual machines in the store because of how Scratch.app made Apple change the rules. So you could write and run a Ruby.app or Python.app. However you can not supply scripts from outside the ipad other than typing them in by hand. No downloading, no open with, no PASTE! But you could share anything you tapped in by hand.

            “Start of art” for that is the BASIC language interpreter that is in the App Store.

            Reply
      • 16. Anonymous Coward  |  April 17, 2010 at 12:57 pm

        I suggest you read this article if you think the iPad isn’t about distribution: http://radar.oreilly.com/2010/04/the-ipad-isnt-a-computer-its-a.html

        Reply
  • 17. Christopher Dutchyn  |  April 15, 2010 at 4:08 pm

    Is Apple exercising their privilege to disable the application for any who have downloaded it? It’s bad enough that others can no longer access the app; but, if it’s being paralyzed for all the already-invested then … ?

    Reply
    • 18. Tom Ross  |  April 17, 2010 at 7:13 am

      The answer is No. I don’t know of any incident so far were Apple has remotely killed apps on users’ phones.

      Reply
  • 19. Robert Hawley  |  April 15, 2010 at 5:53 pm

    To date I have valued Apple’s attitude to giving the user a good experience. However, their suppression of educationally innovative software such as Scratch, Squeak, Smalltalk and other such products on the iPad and iPhone will fundamentally change my attitude.

    Apple’s action is very demotivating. Education needs to use scripting based products as part of teaching – just doing C variants is not realistic where more flexibility, simplicity and immediacy is needed.

    I value these scripting products as much as I have valued Apple products – if Apple does not resolve this, then I will shift my interests towards other products. For years Microsoft have been the over-controllers of the market place – now Apple is overstepping the mark.

    Educational institutions buy thousands of Mac computers – that does not have to continue if Apple fail to understand the effect of this decision. There are other cheaper products out there, and if Apple equipment is inadequate to the requirements, interest will shift.

    Reply
    • 20. Tom Ross  |  April 17, 2010 at 7:15 am

      You could

      a) keep using Macs

      or

      b) teach programming languages that work with the iPad browser.

      Both are realistic, workable alternatives.

      Reply
      • 21. Sidney A  |  April 20, 2010 at 2:42 pm

        I just switched over to SmallBasic, it’s Microsoft controlled but it provides young scripters a migration path if they want to learn VisualBasic

        Reply
  • 22. vitriolix  |  April 15, 2010 at 6:11 pm

    Android welcomes you with open arms :)

    Reply
  • [...] 1: Apple removes Scratch from iPad/iPhone/iTouch 2: Scratch Oh yes, working on a text editor for iPad iPad: ZOMG! Amazing scribbles by Yoshitoshi [...]

    Reply
  • 24. Kevin Newman  |  April 15, 2010 at 6:15 pm

    Here’s hoping Scratch shows up on Android and WinMo.

    Reply
  • 25. Kurtosis  |  April 15, 2010 at 6:48 pm

    They’re shooting themselves in the foot, just like they did with the Mac way back when. The upcoming generation of Android phones looks like it will equal or surpass iPhone in most ways and be open too:

    http://www.engadget.com/2010/03/23/htc-evo-4g-is-sprints-android-powered-knight-in-superphone-armo/

    If Apple doesn’t quickly learn from their own history, they’re going to repeat it. At least this time the competitor is infinitely more open and less of a monopolist than Microsoft was then.

    Reply
    • 26. Tom Ross  |  April 17, 2010 at 7:20 am

      The Windows cliché. It never gets old, doesn’t it? Apple has prevailed in all market that they’ve entered in the last decade.

      The Android platform per se is a mess that would not be appropriate for education. After all, there’s a reason why Linux is not being used in schools.

      Reply
      • 27. Varman M  |  May 15, 2011 at 8:40 pm

        Linux is the PC child of UNIX. UNIX is used in most of the schools and universities. Apple is digging its own grave. Andriod open market will surpass Apple very soon with multiple manufacturers run Honeycomb in their tablet PCs now.

        Reply
  • 28. scheppel  |  April 15, 2010 at 7:12 pm

    That’s a bummer. It’s a shame apple is so greedy

    Reply
  • 29. Apple removes Scratch from iPad/iPhone/iTouch  |  April 15, 2010 at 7:32 pm

    [...] full post on Hacker News If you enjoyed this article, please consider sharing it! Tagged with: Apple • [...]

    Reply
  • 30. Laurence Gonsalves  |  April 15, 2010 at 7:59 pm

    Like others have said, this isn’t that surprising. If Scratch can produce stand-alone apps then the new section 3.3.1 forbids it. (See http://www.xenomachina.com/2010/04/steve-jobs-and-iphone-developer.html for some of my thoughts on this)

    If Scratch apps can only be executed within the Scratch “player”, that’s still a problem because of the longstanding “no interpreters” rule. There was a Commodore 64 emulator that was banned for similar reasons: you could load arbitrary C64 binaries into it. Even when that feature was removed the app was banned for providing access to the BASIC interpreter!

    About Apple’s own Keynote app being akin to a programming language: Maybe so, but Apple doesn’t have to follow their own rules. If they did, Safari would be banned too — it contains a JavaScript interpreter, after all!

    Reply
    • 31. Tom Ross  |  April 17, 2010 at 7:22 am

      The Commodore 64 app is currently on sale again. They modified the app so you cannot enter arbitrary code.

      Reply
      • 32. Laurence Gonsalves  |  November 8, 2010 at 3:43 pm

        Yes, I know. I heard that they also recently added the BASIC interpreter back because Apple decided that it’s ok to have a interpreter as long as you can’t actually get code from elsewhere to install. So downloading C64 games to play on the interpreter is still not possible.

        Reply
  • 33. Sam Watkins  |  April 15, 2010 at 8:00 pm

    …and the moral of the story is: don’t buy, develop for or support commercial proprietary dictatorial junk companies like Apple. Support companies that encourage freedom and innovation. When people ask if there is an Apple version of your product, say like: “Sorry, I don’t trust that comany, so I won’t develop for it. They have a record of suppressing innovation, competition and free expression.”

    Reply
  • 34. Top Posts — WordPress.com  |  April 15, 2010 at 8:27 pm

    [...] Apple removes Scratch from iPad/iPhone/iTouch A real bummer — Apple removed Scratch from the iTunes store, so it’s no longer available for iPad, iPhone, [...] [...]

    Reply
  • [...] – “Apple removes Scratch from iPad/iPhone/iTouch” [...]

    Reply
  • [...] cool media–what could be more in the spirit of Apple Computer, right?  Evidently not. Mark Guzdial writes, “Discussion on the Scratch forums suggests that it’s because Apple wants to focus [...]

    Reply
  • 37. Arun Sarma  |  April 16, 2010 at 12:04 am

    I think Mr. Jobs is afraid that this might happen soon!

    http://news.cnet.com/8301-17938_105-20002545-1.html

    Reply
  • 38. Sam from 2Simple  |  April 16, 2010 at 3:52 am

    Utterly ridiculous for Apple to impose a consumer not producer policy now – with this attitude can we expect Office2, easily the Iphone’s most practical app, to be next on their hit-list? This approach is only serving to move the i… series of devices from vaguely acceptable to utterly useless.

    I would buy an Ipad in a heartbeat if I thought they were going to let useful applications like the full version of Photoshop or the Flex SDK run on them. The sooner Apple realise that what people will accept on their phones is not good enough for a tablet device, the better.

    Reply
  • 39. Marcel  |  April 16, 2010 at 6:37 am

    From my simple understanding, the reason they never allowed Flash to play on the iPhone was because it’s SO processor heavy. No-one wants a pocket device if the battery lasts an hour… but that’s what would happen if Flash appeared in any web pages you browsed. It would be out of Apple’s control but it would render their technology useless.

    The inefficiency of Flash is evident… my laptop turns into a hairdryer in no time when there’s Flash on a web page that I’m viewing.

    Maybe this was the case for Flash developed iApps — I don’t know.

    Apple and Google are working on other technologies for delivering video and other media efficiently.. ie. HTML5. I’m thinking it’s a bigger picture debate.

    Reply
  • 40. Mitch  |  April 16, 2010 at 7:15 am

    I am a fan of Apply but like all large companies they start to lose the plot and forget who they owe there success to.

    Reply
  • 41. Linh  |  April 16, 2010 at 8:08 am

    I’m convinced this is probably a bigger reason for the developer “lock out”http://stevecheney.posterous.com/the-genius-in-apples-vertical-platform

    The death of flash is just a side benefit, and to be honest, I don’t care.. HTML5 all the way. Though, I’d also argue having flash on the iPhone/iPad would be a nice way to transition people to html5.

    But regardless, the consumer could care less about this, they just want something that looks good and works.

    Reply
  • 42. joe  |  April 16, 2010 at 9:19 am

    “…the usefulness of flash CS5 has gone down a lot.”

    I’d say the usefulness of the iPhone and iPad has gone down a lot, not the usefulness of Flash. That’s like saying “Since Ford chose to take the wheels off their cars, the usefulness of streets have gone down a lot.” Only if everyone uses the same platform are those statements true!

    Reply
  • 43. uman  |  April 16, 2010 at 9:40 am

    Prediction: scratch will be back in the store within two weeks. The issue isn’t one of consumption versus production as the scratch forum posters hypothesize. The issue is the embedded Squeak virtual machine and interpreter. Even under the pre-4.0 section 3.3.1 language, that’s been a gray area. Remember the banning of frotz, the app that interpreted the old Infocom Z-machine games? That was allowed in, then banned, then allowed back in.

    Reply
  • [...] – the educational programming app was removed from iTunes store – Here’s a post from the Scratch forums – …Apple has banned all third party [...]

    Reply
  • 45. nona  |  April 16, 2010 at 11:02 am

    To all the morons saying html 5 is the saviour, try making a simple game or an interactive website in html 5 like you can with flash. You just can’t. Html 5 can handle video quite well but that’s about it at the moment.

    So are you saying that you should completely abandon everything Adobe has done with flash and let someone re invent the wheel in a way it’s beneficial to Apple? Why can’t you support Adobe and let them make it more power efficient instead? As a web developer and designer myself, I know which one I’d choose.

    If Microsoft blocked something like Firefox just because they prefer IE, everyone would be up in arms but because it’s Apple, the fan boys are doing their best to oppress the people who are speaking against their cult.

    Reply
  • 46. Loper OS » Non-Apple’s Mistake  |  April 16, 2010 at 12:47 pm

    [...] developers are loud and shrill, and are sure to grow louder and shriller as their Golden Cage grows smaller and smaller, as I’m certain it [...]

    Reply
  • 47. Aiden  |  April 16, 2010 at 1:06 pm

    If I was Apple, I would take these same measures. I know it’s a foreign concept, but Apple would rather have happy users than happy developers. Honestly, I don’t even understand where the hate is coming from; you can all code C/C++/OC and there’s a ton of money to be made in a captive and rapidly expanding user base.

    Refusing to support Flash is just an obvious move. Touchscreen = No hover = Support Problems. Furthermore, the support of web apps via Safari demonstrates that Apple isn’t trying to pull a Stalin; they can control the experience in a browser so you can make any damn app you like. You just can’t use a paradigm for which they can’t assure quality.

    Refusing to allow viral infection vectors is a doubly obvious move. It’s hilarious to me how many people screamed bloody murder when Outlook added javascript processing; “the security nightmare!” everyone said. And they were right. Dozens of trojan viruses and parsing exploits ensued. Hell, I wrote one of them. Microsoft didn’t have to pay anything because everyone accepts that Bill can fuck you, but it’s your fault if you don’t like it. Steve decided to go the opposite way; no code generators on the consumer device means far fewer exploits to cope with.

    God knows that with AT&T as their partner, Apple already has a billion support requests a day. No point making it worse with “my Flash app doesn’t work quite right!” and “why did my bank web page pop up just now?” spearphishing attacks.

    Sorry not to follow the mindless Apple hating but, for the user, these moves make great sense. I just don’t understand how the behemoth Microsoft, with all their market manipulation and contractual insulation from support or liability, has become the darling of the public, and Apple, overpriced for lazier users, is the bad guy.

    Unless there’s a cult of people too smart to accept what’s in their own best interest because it feels like a constriction of their unadulterated free will. Oh wait. You’re all Americans, right?

    (me too)

    Reply
    • 48. Laurence Gonsalves  |  April 16, 2010 at 3:00 pm

      You make the common mistake of thinking that this is all about Flash. It isn’t. (Heck, look at this post. Scratch doesn’t use Flash.)

      The argument that they’re doing what they’re doing to keep quality up is also a red herring. If they cared about quality then 90% of the apps in the App Store wouldn’t be there.

      Apple is doing this because they’re worried about competing platforms. If it’s possible to write an app and then have it run on iPhone OS and a competitor’s platform then smart developers will take that route rather than writing an iPhone OS only app. If that happened then Apple could no longer use “there’s an app for that” as one of their selling points, since those same apps would be available on competing platforms, and that would mean they’d have to compete on the merits of their platform alone. In order to avoid that, they attempt to force developers to use non-portable tools to lock them into the iPhone OS platform.

      The approach Apple is taking is shortsighted, however. By instituting these rules they are both encouraging many developers to abandon their platform, and handicapping those who stay. If I can use any tool I want on other platforms then I can produce much better apps in much less time.

      Like I said, this is about a lot more than just Flash. Many other development practices are prevented by Apple’s policies:

          - Writing apps in other languages that teams may be more
            proficient in (Lisp, OCaml, Erlang, Scala, Python,
            Ruby, Java C#) even if C, C++ or Objective-C is used
            as an intermediate step.
          - Hand-coding inner loops in assembly code (a common
            practice in games).
          - Using domain-specific languages for specific tasks.
            For example:
                - Using Lex, YACC, ANTLR or any other compile time
                  parser generator. (for example: to produce a
                  parser for parsing data fetched from the web)
                - Using a compile-time template engine. (for
                  example: to generate HTML for emails)
                - Using gperf for perfect hashing.
          - Using code transformation tools. For example:
                - Internationalization tools that perform
                  build-time string extraction and reinsertion.
                - Macro processors like m4.
          - Using existing libraries written in other languages.
            For example, many numerical libraries are written in
            Fortran.
      

      (that list is from http://www.xenomachina.com/2010/04/iquality.html)

      Reply
    • 49. informatimago  |  April 18, 2010 at 3:31 pm

      Let me see if I understand correctly. I could write a user interface in Objective-C that would send user commands to a web server. That web server could generate some Objective-C source code for the iPhone/iPod/iPad, have it compiled by an Xcode on a Mac, and send the application over to the AppStore, that the user could download. How would that be different from having an interpreter or compiler on the iPad itself?

      Reply
      • 50. Laurence Gonsalves  |  April 19, 2010 at 12:19 am

        That would arguably only be allowed if a human wrote the Objective-C source code, as a recently introduced change forbids conversion to Objective-C. The rule is that apps must be “originally written” in Objective-C, C, or C++.

        FWIW: I think both rules are terrible, as they essentially mean that to develop for the iPhone you have to work with a sub-standard set of tools. Real programmers build custom tools that often involve either runtime interpreters or code generation, and both are forbidden by the Apple’s policies. It also completely locks out certain classes of apps, including Scratch, game emulators, and even PostScript renderers.

        When the competition, where developers are not arbitrarily hobbled, surpasses the iPhone OS products, Apple will have to either change their ways or be content with being a tiny fraction of the market (Mac all over again).

        Reply
  • 51. Zaf  |  April 16, 2010 at 1:51 pm

    The end user doesn’t give a damn. Because of that they can do whatever the hell they want.

    Reply
  • 52. Rob  |  April 16, 2010 at 1:53 pm

    Its a closed platform – what can you do. they have spent a lot of money developing it, but i’m sure theres loads of people who have burnt a few months building apps that get rejected.

    The fact that apple are too scared to make iPhone a level playing field basically repells me from the platform. They are nice phones mind you, but the popularity is due to a lot of hype. I’m really happy with my android phone.

    If google would just get off their butts and fix the android market then building apps for it would be a bit more rewarding but I would always rather spend my time building for an open platform.

    Reply
  • 53. John M McIntosh  |  April 16, 2010 at 4:17 pm

    Morning.

    As the developer of the Scratch.app let me state that we have talked to Steve Jobs about it, discussions with Steve are ongoing, no decision has been reached. Given Apple’s earnings are next tuesday I don’t think we’ll have closure until some time later in the week.

    Reply
  • 54. Non-Apple’s Mistake « the vital thing..  |  April 16, 2010 at 6:05 pm

    [...] developers are loud and shrill, and are sure to grow louder and shriller as their Golden Cage grows smaller and smaller, as I’m certain it [...]

    Reply
  • 55. Juan  |  April 16, 2010 at 6:51 pm

    This is a sad, sad situation. There so much trash in the app store and they just keep removing apps that don’t fit their political agenda.

    Reply
  • 56. Links « Beautiful Discovery  |  April 16, 2010 at 7:40 pm

    [...] Apple removes Scratch from iPad/iPhone/iTouch This is really just a shame. For all the apologists like Gruber it’s still increasingly obvious that this isn’t going to end well for anybody, Apple and everybody else. Leave a Comment [...]

    Reply
  • 58. Cay Horstmann  |  April 17, 2010 at 12:06 am

    When you are lured into the world of closed source with its seeming glitz and comfort, keep in mind that you are trading convenience for control. Yes, it may be more of an initial investment to manage a Linux laptop or an Android phone, but that effort pays off over time when you can keep doing what you want to do.

    Isn’t it a better use of your time to make an open platform stronger than to temporarily hitch your fortunes to a closed one, until the tides turn against you?

    Reply
  • 59. eckenheimer  |  April 17, 2010 at 8:28 pm

    For an insightful perspective on this whole issue, look here:

    http://www.asktog.com/columns/082iPad&Mac.html

    Reply
  • 60. Fred Martin  |  April 18, 2010 at 8:50 am

    This conversation has been nearly unanimous that closed == evil.

    If Scratch ends up not being allowed on the iPad, that is certainly a huge loss to our community. No question there.

    It is still worth noting the way Apple’s been incredibly successful with their closed store. They have engendered a great deal of trust with consumers. The quality of approved apps is high and people expect them to just work (which they largely do).

    Steven Johnson has a provocative essay on this: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/04/11/technology/internet/11every.html.

    He challenges the assumed truth, “Open platforms promote innovation and diversity more effectively than proprietary ones.”

    Fred

    Reply
  • [...] note: Scratch, which is the current MIT media lab project to teach programming ideas to kids, had their iPhone app pulled from the app store yesterday. (The link is to Mark Guzdial’s compututing education blog — Hi Mark!) This is probably [...]

    Reply
  • 62. Tweets in Japan 2010-04-19 « iPad Fun!  |  April 19, 2010 at 10:13 am

    [...] iPad 欲しいです  #firestorage [2010-04-19 23:06:24] rkmt cf Apple removed Scratc from iPad http://computinged.wordpress.com/2010/04/15/apple-removes-scratch-from-ipadiphoneitouch/ <a href="http: [2010-04-19 23:06:19] tekupon777 iPad熱は完全に鎮火しました。 [...]

    Reply
  • [...] involving what apps can exist on the iPad and iPhone.  Apple has blocked Adobe’s Flash, and removed Scratch from the iTunes store.  Both technologies allow users to create and run their own applications [...]

    Reply
  • [...] generally makes news by publishing new apps, not by unpublishing them. But last week, it made some educators upset when it removed an app, Scratch Viewer, from the iTunes App [...]

    Reply
  • 65. gary britton  |  April 20, 2010 at 3:52 pm

    I thing apple really screwed up, they could have combined the Newton with the IPod and have a full function machine.

    I don’t want a toy, I want IPad that will let me throw away my yellow pads,

    what would have been really neat is if they had made a dual machine/ IPad on one side flip it over have a writing tablet side( like the newton) which will take our handwriting notes and covert it to a text files.

    now that I would spend money on.

    Aren’t we suppose to be moving from an analog to digital world?

    Cheers

    Reply
  • 66. Apple Removes Teaching App From App Store at Third Owl  |  April 21, 2010 at 10:57 am

    [...] generally makes news by publishing new apps, not by unpublishing them. But last week, it made some educators upset when it removed an app, Scratch Viewer, from the iTunes App [...]

    Reply
  • [...] Computing Education Blog broke the news and received a number of comments protesting Apple’s decision. While Apple is remaining quiet [...]

    Reply
  • [...] the app was written by John McIntosh of Canadian development firm Smalltalk Consulting, Ltd. The Computing Education Blog broke the news and received a number of comments protesting Apple's decision. While Apple is remaining quiet on [...]

    Reply
  • [...] the app was written by John McIntosh of Canadian development firm Smalltalk Consulting, Ltd. The Computing Education Blog broke the news and received a number of comments protesting Apple's decision. While Apple is remaining quiet on [...]

    Reply
  • [...] Computing Education Blog broke the news and received a number of comments protesting Apple’s decision. While Apple is remaining quiet [...]

    Reply
  • [...] Computing Education Blog broke the news and received a number of comments protesting Apple’s decision. While Apple is remaining quiet [...]

    Reply
  • [...] the app was written by John McIntosh of Canadian development firm Smalltalk Consulting, Ltd. The Computing Education Blog broke the news and received a number of comments protesting Apple's decision. While Apple is remaining quiet on [...]

    Reply
  • [...] Computing Education Blog broke the news and received a number of comments protesting Apple’s decision. While Apple is remaining quiet [...]

    Reply
  • [...] the app was written by John McIntosh of Canadian development firm Smalltalk Consulting, Ltd. The Computing Education Blog broke the news and received a number of comments protesting Apple's decision. While Apple is remaining quiet on [...]

    Reply
  • [...] Computing Education Blog broke the news and received a number of comments protesting Apple’s decision. While Apple is remaining quiet [...]

    Reply
  • [...] Computing Education Blog broke the news and received a number of comments protesting Apple’s decision. While Apple is remaining quiet [...]

    Reply
  • [...] Computing Education Blog broke the news and received a number of comments protesting Apple’s decision. While Apple is remaining quiet [...]

    Reply
  • [...] Computing Education Blog broke the news and received a number of comments protesting Apple’s decision. While Apple is remaining quiet [...]

    Reply
  • [...] Computing Education Blog broke the news and received a number of comments protesting Apple’s decision. While Apple is remaining quiet [...]

    Reply
  • [...] Computing Education Blog broke the news and received a number of comments protesting Apple’s decision. While Apple is remaining quiet [...]

    Reply
  • [...] Computing Education Blog broke the news and received a number of comments protesting Apple's decision. While Apple is remaining quiet [...]

    Reply
  • [...] Computing Education Blog pennyless a news as well as perceived a series of comments protesting Apple’s decision. While Apple is [...]

    Reply
  • [...] Computing Education Blog broke the news and received a number of comments protesting Apple’s decision. While Apple is remaining quiet [...]

    Reply
  • [...] their own content, and Apple CERTAINLY doesn’t want that). In fact, they are even happy to remove apps that they used to support. Do people really think Apple has superior insight? What really amazes me [...]

    Reply
  • 85. ipad developers  |  April 30, 2010 at 9:10 am

    Well I think Steve Jobs as a manufacturer can establish his own rules for working on i gadgets and decide which technologies should or shouldn`t be used on them. On the other hand sometimes he might have taken into consideration the public opinion so as not to disappoint the devoted customers of the Apple production.
    Regards,
    Blanche Noir, from ipad application development

    Reply
  • 86. Katie Tam  |  May 4, 2010 at 3:24 am

    I personally am also very interested in seeing how soon unofficial sales start across the border here in Canada. Following the launch of the original Wi-Fi model, you could buy one the same day at a not completely ridiculous markup, so I predict the same thing this time around. Of course, international iPad users won’t yet be able to get 3G service, since no deals or pricing have been announced with carriers yet, but presumably the devices will work fine with those networks late in May when the Wi-Fi + 3G iPad ships worldwide.

    Reply
  • 87. Katie Tam  |  May 4, 2010 at 1:08 pm

    The moment you find a fault in your claim that Apple is about total control, you should not conclude that Apple’s logic is screwed. You should retract your claim because you disproved it yourself.

    The iPhone offers dual access for third party content: Web+Apps. Web is liberal, Apps are controlled. Apple has heavily promoted their mobile web browser since January 2007, so this is not a coincidence.

    If you want to casually learn programming using the iPad, start with HTML or one of the highly regarded web languages like Python or Ruby

    Reply
    • 88. Alan Kay  |  May 5, 2010 at 6:34 am

      Hi Katie,

      Leaving aside what Apple “may or not be about”, it’s worth doing a little measuring to see what is actually possible through the browser route.

      For example, here are measurements of the Javascript performance in various browsers on various machines done by Dan Ingalls recently.

      On my 2-year old Mac Powerbook (2.4 GHz Core 2 Duo) I get
      815M simple ops/sec
      33M sends/sec

      On the iPad I get
      28M simple ops/sec
      0.8M sends/sec

      On my iPhone I get
      19M simple ops/sec
      0.4M sends/sec

      He is doing other measurements as I write this, but this indicates that the JS performance on iPad and iPhone are both vastly weaker than on a Mac or PC, and this in turn removes many possible apps from consideration through this route (including doing parts of an Etoys or a Scratch in the browser).

      Best wishes,

      Alan

      Reply
      • 89. Alan Kay  |  May 5, 2010 at 12:32 pm

        A P.S. to this reply by John McIntosh (who did the Squeak port that brought over Scratch …

        Non-graphic benchmarks for Squeak vs Java on iPhone

        Current Squeak VM will do (tinybenchmarks)
        42M bytecodes/sec and 1.1M sends.

        A macbook pro 2.33 intel core 2 duo does 530M & 12M so roughly 12 to 1.

        Where you get a ratio with Java script more like 42 to 1

        So right now there is a huge performance hit on what Apple claims is the free and open way to supply an app through the web.

        Cheers,

        Alan

        Reply
    • 90. Charles Fulnecky  |  October 30, 2010 at 10:41 am

      Hi Katie,
      With all due respect to Alan Kay, browser performance is a “temporary thing”.

      To illustrate why this is a valid contention, some numbers from the same machine:

      Browser || Duration
      ————————–
      IE6 5187ms
      IE7 4031ms
      Firefox3 792ms
      Safari 4 215ms

      The latest crop of browsers, especially Webkit based browsers, have continued to push the performance envelope. Current efforts include greater use of the more efficient gpu for certain operations (primarily CSS and SVG at this time) however there are also efforts to take advantage of multi-core processors which are starting to appear in mobile devices ( I expect even Apple has plans for dual-core Cortex A9s sometime next year.)

      I would also extend to the list of complimentary languages available in the browser; besides HTML and JavaScript, CSS and XSLT are also important tools in the web developers arsenal.

      I would urge you to visit sencha.com to look at some of the mobile demonstrations. Also a compelling example of gpu accelerated graphics in the browser can be found at webkit.org/blog-files/leaves/

      I would also lobby for better (performance on par with IE) XSLT support in Webkit as it is a powerful declarative language (and apparently a Turing complete functional language http://www.unidex.com/turing/utm.htm Fxsl.source forge.net)

      Cheers

      Reply
      • 91. Alan Kay  |  October 30, 2010 at 1:51 pm

        Hi Charles

        I think the big point about browsers is being missed. And this is that there is no current way to allow a developer to make a special super fast tool from machine code that is required for a certain app.

        This is the sticking point for us with just reimplementing Etoys in the browser (which we would dearly like to do). One of the tools in Etoys is a super fast particle system that children can program to make simulations involving hundreds of thousands of particles with 1/10 second time steps.

        This is trivial to do in a real operating system, because they can be set up to run developer code safely in a confined process/address space.

        If browsers were done correctly, they could allow executables to be run safely in the very same way. This would revolutionize application building on the web (in the sense of being able to at least go back to what was common practice with OSs).

        There is no reason not to do this, and I’ve spent a lot of time pointing this out to all the browser makers. (Maybe Google will actually do this.)

        And there are other ways to allow this. For example, make a super fast variant at the C level that allows highly optimized stuff to be programmed, and allow the browser to do the compiling, etc. (This is like what we have with Javascript but potentially hundreds of times faster.)

        The important idea here is that the vendors have needlessly inserted themselves and have put unnecessary bottlenecks in the development process.

        The big thing that was missed when browsers were first done, and is still being missed, is “OS 101″. A browser should be like an OS and not like an application.

        Cheers,

        Alan

        Reply
  • 92. Alfred Thompson  |  May 7, 2010 at 11:03 am

    I watch this discussion with some amusement actually. At some level I am upset about tools that I like (and those from the company I work for) being banned from the iPhone/iPad platform of course. The amusement comes from the belief that many of the people defending Apple would be lambasting Microsoft if they did the same thing. In fact I can’t imagine Microsoft banning Flash, for example, without major anti-trust litigation following. (Though of course I am not a lawyer and don’t have any idea how that would play out in reality.) And yet Apple can do what they want. Well life is not fair for everyone’s definition of fair.

    The computer industry is unusual in that what is best for consumers and what is best for competitors really are not always the same. Or at least not the way I see it. Competitors and various courts do not always see eye to eye with me though. :-)

    Reply
  • 94. Alfred Thompson  |  May 7, 2010 at 1:17 pm

    I did see that there were being looked at for anti-trust issues. It will be interesting to see how that goes. There are implications for all technology companies. I am unsure how the law regards this issue but people seem to see it as good or bad to restrict in this way depending on how much or how little they like the company doing it. The law has to be a bit more objective. In theory at least.

    Reply
  • 95. Barry Brown  |  May 7, 2010 at 4:30 pm

    While I think there is some favoritism, it seems to depend more on the size if the market share, the size of the company, and the depth of their pockets. Apple has been able to get away with not only bundling the Safari web browser with the their products, but also preventing similar third-party apps, by being a relatively small company with a small market share. As they become larger, they will attract the attention of regulators, as they are now.

    It’s not illegal to be a monopoly — it’s only illegal to use that monopoly to prevent competition. It’s not clear whether restricting which tools can be used to create an app amounts to preventing competition. They’re not preventing someone from creating an app; they’re just dictating how it should be created.

    Reply
  • 96. Robert Hawley  |  May 7, 2010 at 4:45 pm

    I do not want to attack Apple for this – I would prefer that Apple finds for itself that it values the educational contribution of products like Scratch, Smalltalk etc..

    Whether there is a non-commercial way that Apple could rethink this issue is something they could explore. Scratch is there for fun – so that kids can make things for themselves. I doubt that any scratch ‘app’ has been sold – that is not the point of the exercise.

    I think that when challenged Apple would acknowledge that their products serve a great role in education, and that they would not want to see that role reduced. Strange then that they reduce it for themselves for other reasons. There are lots of rubbish apps for the iPhone and well as good ones. I would put Scratch into the category of a good one if it was allowed.

    Reply
  • 97. Website Design  |  May 12, 2010 at 2:48 pm

    Very strange for a company as big as Apple to take away something so popular.

    Reply
  • 98. Miguel  |  May 20, 2010 at 1:41 pm

    It is amazing that a very revolutionary technology could be conceived like a simple music, video or book “player”. Scratch is one of the most powerful tool for developing reasoning skills. Human beings are becoming producer in any digital environment more than a simple information consumer. When Apple deploy technologies who are market oriented to only consume information they are losting the whole picture. And mankind is losting a very important chance to became a “new problem solving” race (as cancer, poverty. pollution, etc..

    Reply
  • 99. Sam Watkins  |  May 20, 2010 at 10:06 pm

    To the developers of Scratch: please support decent open operating systems such as Nokia’s Maemo and Google’s Android, both based on Linux. Don’t worry about Apple, the iPhone OS is going under to Linux-based phone systems (especially Android). although I prefer my n900 :)

    Reply
  • 100. atics  |  June 12, 2010 at 4:00 am

    really bad apple banned third party.. maybe its impact from apple becomes a IT largest company surpassed microsoft :)

    Reply
  • 101. Fred Martin  |  June 12, 2010 at 11:12 am

    Apple appears to be easing the restrictions on interpreted languages. Starting with iOS 4, they will be allowed with written consent: “an Application may use embedded interpreted code in a limited way if such use is solely for providing minor features or functionality that are consistent with the intended and advertised purpose of the Application.”

    See http://www.appleoutsider.com/2010/06/10/hello-lua/ .

    Fred

    Reply
  • 102. John M McIntosh  |  June 12, 2010 at 12:28 pm

    This is the result of many hours of work by Alan Kay with senior people at Apple. Also thanks to Steve Jobs for listening and changing things so apps that can teach computational theory can come to the iPad.

    Scratch.app has been scheduled this week as one of the first players to negotiate the written approval clause. At this time I also will pursue or lay the foundations to get approval for eToys, Squeak and Pharo

    So it’s not back in the store yet, but soon I hope.

    Reply
  • [...] – the educational programming app was removed from iTunes store – Here’s a post from the Scratch forums – …Apple has banned all third party [...]

    Reply
  • 104. capitanhook  |  June 20, 2010 at 7:06 pm

    well maybe they dont wanna share big market so they ban..actually if we remember microsoft first years of windows and still they are not so tight about rules and now they become only one in market so apple guys has to think about it.

    Reply
  • [...] Meanwhile, Apple went all Code Nazi with Section 3.3.1 and killed a wonderful little development environment for children called Scratch (see also)! [...]

    Reply
  • 106. Ella Emma  |  July 29, 2010 at 3:37 pm

    An interactive adventure authored with the Inform programming language [ http://inform7.com/ ] can be played on the iPad with Craig Smith’s Frotz [available at iTunes store]. Is Inform on the Apple-approved programming language list?

    BTW, I note that App Inventor for Android gives acknowledges Scratch. See http://appinventor.googlelabs.com/about/ at the bottom “On the Shoulders of Giants!”

    Reply
  • [...] store (by way of a Facebook post by Scott Traylor). This decision has ruffled some feathers (see http://computinged.wordpress.com/2010/04/15/apple-removes-scratch-from-ipadiphoneitouch/ for a taste of the comments, including one by Alan [...]

    Reply
  • 108. Pavel  |  September 10, 2010 at 4:29 am

    Maybe now is the time to approach Apple and reopen this question. They are allowing third-party development tools again. There is still a ban on execution of downloadable code, but it is still a big change so they can be open for discussion about Scratch.

    Reply
  • 109. John M McIntosh  |  September 10, 2010 at 12:53 pm

    This question was never closed with Apple, we touched base with Apple every couple of weeks during the summer, and were told please wait. I will have more news about Scratch.app after my discussions with Apple on Monday.

    Reply
  • 110. El iPad y la educación  |  October 4, 2010 at 3:33 pm

    [...] personas mayores (como ya hemos comentado por aquí). En el caso concreto del iPad, es una pena que Apple haya prohibido el entorno Scratch, ideal para que los chavales aprendan programación y los profesores realicen materiales educativos [...]

    Reply
  • 111. John M McIntosh  |  October 13, 2010 at 9:54 pm

    Closure.

    After much discussion, two changes to the contract, and more discussion Apple decides no Scratch.app because it does of course download code, the *SHARE* part of what Scratch does!

    Someday Apple may change their policy, when it happens we will be ready.

    Reply
  • 112. Fred Martin  |  October 13, 2010 at 10:01 pm

    Wow that’s really sad.

    Hey I was thinking, would it be not unreasonable to make an Android Scratch binary player, working from the Java applet source code?

    My kids would love to be able to author Android games!

    Reply
  • 113. Robert Hawley  |  October 13, 2010 at 11:06 pm

    Please keep up the pressure on Apple. This is a narrow minded decision. In the case of Scratch, it is a free product that is being used increasingly in schools – I even use it at university level as an introduction to programming. For it not to be available on the iPad says something about Apple exerting negative control on educational freedoms – not something it should be proud of.

    Scratch is implemented in Smalltalk – the very kinds of windowing environment that started Apple off after a famous visit to Xerox Parc.

    Scratch is implemented using more dynamic objects than traditional OOP – but Apple is closing a door on the possibilities that creates.

    The products that kids can make using scratch on an iPad would not compete with the commercial products sold through the app store – they are usually lower resolution and do not have to be distributed in a way that involves money. I am sure that there is the possibility of a sensible compromise on this if Apple are willing to even begin to reconsider.

    Reply
  • 114. itouch cases  |  October 20, 2010 at 6:12 pm

    Now all we need is apple to fix the T-model power plugs! Of course they wont admit there is a problem though…

    Reply
  • 115. new iphone  |  November 6, 2010 at 11:35 pm

    Guess I’ll have to cancel that iPad order! Maybe there can be an underground network of contraband Scratch-for-iTouch programs.

    Reply
    • 116. Laurence Gonsalves  |  November 8, 2010 at 3:49 pm

      The right approach to get Apple to fix their policies isn’t to work around them by making “contraband” iOS apps, or jailbreaking your iDevice. The right approach is to vote with your wallet and buy a competing device that doesn’t place arbitrary restrictions on what you can do with it.

      Reply
  • 117. John M McIntosh  |  November 8, 2010 at 4:04 pm

    The proper approach is to have educational resources lobby Apple to allow software engineers to have the ability to create content on the iOS platform other than editing JavaScript. If musicians, artists, writers can use the iOS platform to create content, why can’t the folks in computer science do the same?

    Reply
  • 118. 2010 in review from Wordpress « Computing Education Blog  |  January 2, 2011 at 3:18 pm

    [...] The busiest day of the year was April 16th with 35,976 views. The most popular post that day was Apple removes Scratch from iPad/iPhone/iTouch. [...]

    Reply
  • 119. Simon Hill  |  January 20, 2011 at 11:45 am

    We’re all impressed with the iPad as an object of desire. But how are schools getting on using them in classroom situations? Aren’t there case studies yet of how they are working (or otherwise) in real schools with real students. Please let me have your views http://www.hilleducation.co.uk/blog/default.html.

    Reply
  • [...] generally makes news by publishing new apps, not by unpublishing them. But last week, it made some educators upset when it removed an app, Scratch Viewer, from the iTunes App [...]

    Reply
  • 121. chaikens  |  August 26, 2011 at 10:41 pm

    I made the 2nd readers’ comment to the NY Times tmagazine section
    on a piece that lauds the style and design of Apple products:

    http://tmagazine.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/08/25/the-job-jobs-did/

    My comment expresses the sentiment of this blog entry and it links to it to for further information.

    Reply
  • 122. Evil « The Micronauts  |  December 18, 2011 at 9:03 am

    [...] developers are loud and shrill, and are sure to grow louder and shriller as their Golden Cage grows smaller and smaller, as I’m certain it [...]

    Reply
  • 123. El iPad y la educación « Ética y Política  |  January 8, 2012 at 3:03 am

    [...] mayores (como ya hemos comentado por aquí). En el caso concreto del iPad, es una pena que Apple haya prohibido el entorno Scratch, ideal para que los chavales aprendan programación y los profesores realicen materiales educativos [...]

    Reply
  • 124. CS 491 Lecture 1: AppInventor | teaching machines  |  August 10, 2012 at 4:16 pm

    [...] scared of Apple’s [...]

    Reply
  • [...] rules for what apps are allowed into their AppStore (even if the AppStore acceptance process is utterly broken…). Telling developers what to build is sort of OK, but telling them how to build is [...]

    Reply

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