AppStore Review Process Getting Worse Not Better


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A while back, Apple told a developer to either take out some offensive words from their dictionary application (Ninjawords) or be removed from the AppStore. This prompted Apple’s Phil Schiller to write to John Gruber at Daring Fireball to respond to the accusation that Apple was censoring the dictionary app.

I felt that Apple finally had an idea that they needed to take a good long look at their process and make some changes.

Well, I’m afraid that either they are still taking that “long look” or they decided that nothing was wrong with their process because sure enough, developers seem to be getting shafted more and more since.

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Case in point: iStat from Bjango. Originally, iStat had a great feature that allowed its users to “Free Memory” on their device so that they could play a game or run an application that might otherwise crash to the SpringBoard due to memory issues. Apple sent Bjango a letter stating that their software was causing confusion with it’s iPhone/iPod touch users and that they needed to remove the Free Memory feature from the software or have their iStat program removed from the AppStore.

Bjango capitulated and has since been updated with new features like a battery status display and process list.

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Now Apple has sent a letter to the folks over at Vanilla Breeze telling them to remove the “Broken LCD animation” from their iSurprise application or be removed from the AppStore. When asked why, Apple responded saying that they were getting too many phone calls from their customers telling them their devices have become broken by using iSurprise.

Now, I understand that the iPhone is a great device and that its designed so that even a small child can use all the features of a cell phone without having to dig into it’s manuals. However, this is getting ridiculous. Apple is actually saying that their users are so stupid that they can’t tell the difference between an application bringing up a picture of a broken screen and an actual broken screen?

Are these users so stupid that as soon as the screen appears broken, they pick up their landline and call Apple claiming that the application iSurprise broke their phone? They don’t notice that the “glass” is broken only to the edge of where the display is and not to the upper and lower edges of the phone? That pressing the Home button “fixes” the break and then tapping the iSurprise icon then tapping the screen again causes the screen to break again?

Seriously?

Are they saying that they get calls when someone’s iPhone shows a broken screen but when they have a similar application running on their iMac and the iMac’s screen shows a graphic of a broken screen that they are not confused by this, but are by the iPhone app?

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Something has to be going on at Apple above and beyond confusion by 0.001% of Apple’s iPhone/iPod touch users (assuming 400 people are calling complaining about this application, and that is being generous). It would take 400,000 users calling complaining about this problem for it to even show as 1% of their user base. What that something is, I just can’t even speculate on. It’s just too damn strange for me to figure out.

Apple needs to fix this AppStore problem, or they are going to have absolutely no developers for their precious phone/ipod as all the developers move to other platforms that don’t act like dictators.

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2 comments

  1. I don’t think Apple ever told the NinjaWords developer to edit the dictionary. If you read Gruber’s piece, the only thing Apple told them to do was wait until OS 3.0 came out so they could implement parental controls. The developer then took it upon themselves to begin editing the dictionary and Apple simply responded to the edits they’d made. I’ve read Gruber’s piece several times and I’ve yet to figure out how he came to the conclusion that Apple insisted the dictionary be edited.

  2. Unfortunately, we’ll probably never know the “real” story of NinjaWords and Apple.

    I don’t know, I tried to track down a blog post by one of the developers of NinjaWords. I was certain that I had read a post on a blog by one of the developers that he was all but forced to censor his dictionary. Sometimes the internet can be your friend and sometimes it can be your enemy. Ah well…


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