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.

WTF Apple! Bjango Being Blackmailed Into Removing A Feature


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OK, what the hell is the matter with you Apple! This blackmail tactic of threatening to remove an application from the AppStore because you don’t like a feature is really getting very very old!

I just learned that Apple is threatening to remove iStat from Bjango if they don’t remove a feature in the application that attempts to free up memory that is otherwise not being used.

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As you can see from the screen shot to the right, the first section of the applications data is a pie chart of memory usage. Wired and Active is memory that is currently being used by applications, Inactive and Free is memory that is not being used. The “FREE MEMORY” button to the right of the pie chart allows the user to attempt to free up memory that is not being used at the time.

For this example, tapping the FREE MEMORY button would probably free up about a quarter of the memory currently being colored in the pie chart. This has been my experience with the app. It probably attempts to fill the device with used memory by allocating as much memory as it’s allowed, then freeing it up. This will force the device to “Page Out” memory, freeing up some memory for other apps.

Typically, the Mail, Phone and iPod apps don’t quit when you press the Home button. So they take up memory that may not be needed if you are not listening to music. You don’t need Mail in memory if you are not reading messages and you don’t need “most” of the Phone app in memory either.

The news hit Twitter just a few hours ago directly from Bjango. Here are the tweets from their Twitter account: http://twitter.com/bjango

We’ve been asked to remove iStat’s free memory feature. This leaves us with two choices. Resubmit with free mem gon (cont) http://tl.gd/dme8

You all know who asked ;) Keep the replies coming. User feedback is a VERY important part of this decision.

Those who want more info: we simply don’t have any. It is exactly what it is.

All the detail we have: iStat will be removed from the store unless the free mem feature goes.

If you don’t update iStat to version 1.1, then yes, you get to keep 1.0 as is, free mem included.

On the plus side: If we remove the free mem feature, we will be able to update iStat with all the features we’ve been wanting to add.

We haven’t made a decision yet but it seems like people would rather have updates even if it means free memory is gone.

Now, there were a lot of folks chiming in with suggestions including myself. I would personally like to keep iStat as is, and purchase a new iStat app that doesn’t have the free memory feature, but has the new features that Bjango is promising. Were not talking a huge amount of money here. If I paid full price for the app, it was $1.99. I would gladly eat that for a way of freeing memory other than turning off my phone, then back on. That is so annoying and is just because there is no memory free to run the application I am attempting to run.

I have seen symptoms in several apps I run. With PandoraBox, I’ll see application entries with all blank data, meaning that there wasn’t enough free memory to load the app description and icon into memory to display. I’ve seen apps shutdown seconds after starting. After I free the memory, the applications work fine.

I have to wonder what in the world Apple doesn’t like about the ability to “Page Out” memory not being used presently by other applications. It’s what a Paged Memory Management system is designed to do. If the “embeded” version of OS X is not capable of PMM, I would have to question Apple’s saying that the iPhone/iPod touch uses an Embeded OS X.

As usual, Apple is not stating way Bjango has to remove the feature from its app. Just that they remove it or the app is removed from the store. I’m actually surprised that Apple actually gave Bjango a warning that they would remove the app if they don’t comply. We have clearly seen examples of Apple pulling the plug on an application and surprising the developers with the news after the fact.

So, come on Apple, get your head out of your collective asses and fix this AppStore problem, or you are not going to be seeing the applications you would like to see in your wonderful AppStore in the future. Just hundreds of thousands of “Bulk” apps that we all enjoy so much right now. (You know what I’m talking about, don’t you Brighthouse Labs?)