Apple has removed an app from the iPad App Store which teaches kids how to program, Wired reports.The app, called Scratch, is based on the Scratch platform developed at MIT to make programming fun and accessible to kids.
The app runs afoul of clause 3.3.2. of the iPhone developer agreement, which doesn’t allow apps that can build or launch other apps.
This is so other companies can’t build apps that could rival the app store by distributing other apps through it.
But Scratch is an app that help kids make little programs that do very basic stuff. It’s for educational purposes. The people behind Scratch are not out to commoditize Apple’s platform. So Apple‘s behaviour here is ridiculous.
The irony in all this is that Scratch is based on the work of scientist Alan Kay. Alan who worked at the Xerox PARC lab where Steve Jobs got most of the ideas for the original Macintosh and the NeXT platform on which MacOS X was eventually based. What’s more, Alan’s concept of the Dynabook portable computer is recognised as a precursor to tablets. Steve Jobs reportedly personally mailed an iPad to Kay in gratitude.
Odds are that Apple will eventually walk back their decision and allow the app, but episodes like this will keep raising questions about how Apple manages its sorta-open, sorta-closed platform.
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