Analytics. NAnalytics. Where Are the Alternatives?

I just picked up this article about the updated iPhone Developer Agreement indirectly through a friend’s posting on Facebook. Reading through the details and I all but fainted.  The reason why iPhone apps have been improving is that creative and diligent application developers have the tools to fine tune their iPhone applications through anonymous usage analysis, just like a webmaster can use web analytics such as Google Analytics to measure sure and figure out where users are lost or what parts of the application is not used often enough to warrant further development (or need a UI overhaul to expose that certain infrequently used functionality). I used Flurry in many of my apps and have examined the other platforms such as Mobclix, AdMob, and Motally, and found their service indispensable.

With this Developer Agreement update, at the very least, future updates to my applications will no longer be allowed to link to these analytics package. I don’t know if Apple will go so far as pulling the apps that are currently in the store. So, what’s a developer to do? Is Apple telling us developers to not worry about user experience? By making it “illegal” to use an analytics package, Apple is effectively saying that.

If Apple wants to protect the consumers’ right to privacy, I wouldn’t mind if Apple has an “approval” process for these third-party analytics vendors to “certify” their libraries because I, the developer, can link with the Apple-approved third-party analytics libraries and submit my apps. This is a burden on these analytics companies, at least it presents a path to preserve this functionality. May be Apple wants the analytics business on the iPhone for itself and wants to put these startup out of business by legislating their ability to exist.

There are other changes in the Developer Agreement about how GPS data can be used. If your application uses GPS data, please read the Developer Agreement.

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