Well my two recent posts on Amidio’s ioLibrary have raised some interesting questions about ioLibrary. I think it would be good to get this debate out in the open and get an upnderstanding on what other developers and users think about the issues. To start I’m going to use the comments left by Richard as a prompt:

I would love to see an open dialog on the subject of interoperability standards among iPhone music apps. Palm Sounds seems like a great forum to get that started.

There are a number of legal and practical concerns around any solution where competitors are working together to create a mutually beneficial solution.

– Is the solution verifiable as compliant with the terms of Apple’s SDK license agreement and the App Store approval practices?

– Is the solution legal with respect to US and other antitrust laws (a.k.a. competition law)? (Any time competitors enter into agreements for their mutual benefit this is a concern.)

– What is the form of the interface? (i.e. proprietary binary, open source code, proprietary source code, open specification, proprietary specification etc.)

– Who owns and controls the interface? Who owns the implementation of the interface? What are the terms of use?

– As with all standards there needs to be accountability for compliance. How is that going to happen? Who will validate compliance with the standard? How will an end user know that the product will work?

– Why would a developer put a competitor’s binary code in their app without source code?

– What do end users actually want and need?
(CAF files. Really?)

– Are the solutions practical? (e.g. WAV file export and import over the cell network is moving huge files (approx 10MB/min of music) and uses huge amounts of device power and network bandwidth. (An implementation might violate Apple’s rumored 4.5MB/5 minutes maximum rule for cell network bandwidth use causing the app to be rejected from the App Store.)

– Are the solutions properly licensed? For example, ZIP files and MP3 files may be covered by various patents. If some of the implementation’s functionality may use patented functionality who would be responsible for the license and royalties? The library creator or library user?
Are there any OSS licenses involved in the library that need to be disclosed?

Creating standards is not easy. For better or worse the days of the wild west on the App Store are over. Apple will force compliance with laws and proper practices if only because they are a party (as an agent) in App Store sales transactions.

These are just a few of the issues that come to mind. I’d like to see the discussion driven into the full light of day.

Thanks,

-Richard Lawler

I’d really welcome comments on this post please, and let’s make this as constructive a debate as we can, as it is in everyone’s interest to make this work and get it right.

UPDATE: I thought I’d just link in the two previous posts on this discussion: 1, and 2

Bookmark and Share var addthis_pub = ‘PalmSounds’;http://s7.addthis.com/js/widget.php?v=10

3 comments

  1. Oh I think he nails it- great post! All of us artistic types are preoccupied with the logistics of how these programs can work together from a more creative perspective, when in reality, these are truly the issues at hand.
    My “real job” is in the creative/marketing dept of a fortune 200 financial corporation, and these are the sorts of things I have to deal with every single day- in a different context of course. But those are excellent points and every one of them will ultimately have to be addressed to even begin thinking about any sort of integration on this platform.

  2. Okay, we released the ioLibrary API v.1.2. We will send it by email to anyone interested, however the package contents are confidential.

    The API is done in a form of a compileable app. All the sources are there, it's not a binary library. Everything is quite simple, but it works.

    At this stage, API is offered at “as is” principle (ie no custom modifications), but we're open to discussion if you find something objectionable.

    All the legal issues are covered and everything's OK to use it in your own apps (i'm short of time to cover this in detail)

    The API is 100% legal with Apple (our own apps demostrate this)

    Apart from basic audio exchange functionality, current version of ioLibrary API (1.2) offers:

    – direct Beatmaker export (since Beatmaker has access to ioLibrary folder)

    – direct SoundCloud.com export (via the SoundCloud API)

    – built-in Wi-Fi server with the possibility of multi-upload (zipped files)

    We're working on implementing sync to global clock between apps.

  3. Just want to say, a share API or file interoperability is NOT a red flag for antitrust concerns — even assuming government regulators were looking at independent iPhone apps to beg with.

    I was going to try to make a comparison, but this is so far from anything covered by antitrust law it doesn't make sense.

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