Updated: Sept 29, 2017
If you own a Firefly 2, Pax 3, Crafty, DaVinci IQ or one of the other countless vaporizing devices that features a Bluetooth app, your days of using those apps may be numbered if you use an iPhone or Apple device.
An Apple a Day Keeps the Vaping Away
A popular UK vaporizer forum, Planet of the Vapes, received a notice from Apple stating that their forum app would be removed from the Apple Store due to a change in policy that excludes any vaporizing or nicotine related apps to be hosted through the Apple Store.
Planet of the Vapes asked for clarification about the sudden change in policy but could not get a straight answer from any of the Apple employees they were in contact with.
With Apple’s massive market shares and almost 43% of smartphone users using an Apple device, this ban has the potential to affect a large amount of vaporizer users who are currently enjoying the functionality that Bluetooth brings to their units.
There is no word how wide this ban could reach, but it has the potential to impact some of the big names in the vaporizer industry that utilize Bluetooth apps hosted on the iTunes store. Apple seems to have its sights set on nicotine units specifically, but seeing as many dry herb vaporizers could be also been perceived as “dry tobacco” products, it could have a bigger reach then originally feared. Some apps have the potential of being pulled from the store while others will just not receive updates.
With such a large reach it could also potentially hurt sales for a number of new top-tier vaporizer companies that could take the brunt of this potential app ban. Essentially Apple would be neutering these vaporizers, forcing manufacturers to try and figure out a work around to satisfy current and future users.
The iVape by Apple?
This announcement interestingly enough comes on the heels of another hot topic of discussion including Apple and the vaporizing world. Apple recently filed a patent for vaporizer technology of their own which had many jumping to conclusions that Apple may be throwing its hat in the vaporizer ring.
If that is the case, this move to ban all other vaporizer apps is a bit of a greasy move. What is next Apple, are you going to ban any alcohol related apps when you decide to start your own micro brew?
This potential ban appears to be a bit hypocritical, especially with the lack of substantial reasoning. If liability and creating the perception that Apple does not wish to associate itself with ‘vaping culture’ is their main issue then why are they not also looking to ban gambling apps or alcohol-related apps which also promote an “alternative lifestyle”.
So what could this potentially mean if it does effect the dry herb vaporizer market?
We feel especially bad for Firefly and Firefly 2 owners who may feel the weight of this decision the most. The Firefly 2 requires the use of the app to change temperatures, switch to concentrate mode and download firmware updates.
With this potential ban, current and future Firefly 2 users that have an Apple device will be extremely restricted on the function of the device, locking them to only a single heat setting.
Firefly Vapor has worked their asses off to create an amazing on-demand convection unit putting tons of research and development into the included app. To have all that work ripped away because of a questionable change in policy is just plain unfair and hurts the creativity of manufacturers.
Crafty owners will also be soured if this decision effects dry herb units, as the Crafty app allows the devices 2 base temperatures to be customized and also enables you to use the device as a precise temperature control vaporizer.
Storz & Bickel are pioneers of mobile vaporizing apps and kicked open the door to the rest of the community. But with this potential ban, Storz & Bickel will be hoisted on its own petard and could see Crafty sales directly affected as people opt for the Mighty or another vaporizer that does not have its temperature control revolve around an app.
Furthermore the Crafty has already gotten a bad rap for its poor battery life and warranty issues which has directly affected consumer interest. One could speculate if their app is banned it could be seen as a final nail in the coffin to the Crafty vaporizer and could seriously send sales spiraling.
Pax 3 owners and prospective buyers who own iPhones will be in a similar boat, as the Pax app allows you to set a custom temperature as well as change heating modes. But luckily the Pax’s base temperature functionality will remained untouched.
This potential decision has the possibility of really hurting Pax Labs who many ironically considered the “Apple of Vaporizers”. Pax’s latest vaporizer, the Pax 3 uses Bluetooth technology as the main selling feature over the Pax 2. This potential decision from Apple essentially makes anyone with an iPhone and Pax 3, now the proud owner of a glossy Pax 2!
The Pax 3 is already suffering from negative attention because of the lack of innovation between the 2 units. The Vape Critic himself goes into detail about the Pax 2 vs the Pax 3, favoring the Pax 2 as a superior device. These negative criticisms along with the potential new app ban could spell doom for the Pax 3 which is only in its infancy.
Pax Labs spent a large amount of time and hard work trying to separate the Pax 3 and Pax 2, adding extra functionality to the Pax 3 with the included app. Without the app it will be hard for most vapers to justify purchasing the more expensive Pax 3 over the Pax 2, the two units look and function exactly the same, it is the Bluetooth app functionality that puts the Pax 3 over the top.
The DaVinci IQ’s Bluetooth app is not entirely necessary to operate the device and access most features, users will lose out on the ability to set their own vapor paths, change session length and track their vape usage.
While the DaVinci IQ technically has the least to lose if this ban happens, the price tag of the unit makes it a hard pill to swallow if you are an Apple user and know you won’t be able to use the vaporizer to its true potential.
Apple’s decision not only potentially takes a direct shot at some of the biggest names in the Vaporizer community, but it could also stifle creativity and innovation for all future vaporizer products.
With Apple’s large stake in the smartphone market, vaporizer manufactures may now think twice about developing an app that can only be used by a small fraction of smartphone users. This can be seen as a giant step-back for vaporizer technology forcing us back into the stone-age. Butane powered vaporizers anybody?
This really is not the best look for Apple, taking the attitude of “Mother knows best” never resonates well with the general public. We already know how strict Apple is when it comes to the Apple store. All apps must be approved by Apple before they are listed and many apps go through several iterations before they get accepted. With more and more restrictions being applied, you’d have to think any software developer will be cautious from now on putting their effort in developing an app for the Apple store.
Google on the other hand is a lot more lenient and has more of a free spirit attitude when it comes to apps that can be featured on their Google Play store. Google still monitors all content of apps on their store but are less likely to play the role of “Big Brother” when it comes to innovation with budding technology.
I certainly know that if I was an iPhone user and looking to purchase a new vaporizer or a vaporizer user looking to buy a new phone, this would factor into my decision. Why spend the money on a device with functionality you won’t be able to use. Or for a unit like the Firefly 2, why buy a unit that I can no longer change the temperature settings?
Looking ahead, there is a tremendous opportunity for vaporizer companies that have yet to sink development into Bluetooth technology. This potential ban will allow newer manufacturers to focus more on the basic functionality of their vaporizers, forcing them to include any unique settings or modes directly into the device. A simple, straightforward and high performing unit could easily leap frog the top vaporizer manufacturers who are currently scrambling to deal with the neutering of their devices functionality.
As of right now, vaporizing apps are still available through the Apple Store as Apple notifies developers about changes in policies, but we imagine that a date will be set in the near future where Apple will put the policies in effect and the apps may either not receive updates or be removed completely.
All I know is I am glad I’m an Android user, free from the prying hands of Mother Apple. What do you humans think about Apples potential vaporizer app ban? Will this push you away from Apple devices in the future if you are an avid vaporizer user? Will this affect your decision on which unit you would buy if you are an apple user?