The license fee (which I support) funds all of BBC content that is not funded by the arms of the BBC which make profit (BBC worldwide, for example). The basis is generally, around the British Isles, you can obtain BBC broadcast & interactive services free of charge at the point of use.
British subjects (which includes IOM & CI residents) pay a license fee in order to be permitted to use equipment that is capable of receiving television broadcasts. This is compulsory, whether or not they use that equipment to receive or view BBC content, or indeed any broadcast content. No difference if they receive the signal through terrestrial broadcast, satellite broadcast or cable, and even if you pay a subscription to the provider of the broadcast, you still pay a license fee. There is no veriation between analogue, standard digital or HD services, but I think you can get a discounted license if your TV is monochrome (black & white for those of us who had one once!)
The fee is charged for use of TV kit, but funds TV, radio, web/interactive, Ceefax and many public services run by the BBC. It is perfectly legitimate to complain about spending on iPhone apps rather than web apps - as legitimate to complain about 6Music and the Asian network (DAB-only BBC radio stations) However, that's what the BBC trust is about... I think the phrase might be "there are other closed-access mobile application stores available"
Now, if the rest of the world can understand the issues at stake when many license fee payers seem unaware, fine. I suspect though, that TFA's author doesn't understand them as I see them.
for what it's worth, I love the BBC, despite 90% being a bit crap. I support the license fee, but would like it to be lower. I'd like 6Music on FM, I won't get DAB for my car! BBC1 is a bit crap, and regional BBC radio/TV for my area is rubbish and NEVER GET THE WEATHER RIGHT! but to abolish or curtail the BBC would be a disaster for the whole world. The freedom from advertising alone is worth £120/year and I would never listen to commercial radio, even if they abolished the BBC. A few hundred grand on iphone app development does not overly bother me.