Apple approves the Hey email app thanks to a free account option

It has been quite the rollercoaster for Basecamp and the developers’ new email app “Hey“, and now, just hours before the special event keynote that will kick off this year’s Worldwide Developers Conference, there’s a bit of good news.

As reported by The Verge, it turns out that Basecamp has made some changes in an effort to appease Apple’s App Store-related demands (rules), and, ultimately, get the app approved so the developers can issue bug fixes and other software updates. This brings the version number of Hey to 1.0.3, but, at the time of publication, it appears the latest update is not readily available in the App Store just yet.

So, here’s the primary change: now there is a free sign-up option. This is a direct response to Phil Schiller’s statement that the Hey email app “doesn’t work” when a user first opens it because the app didn’t offer a way to sign up for the $99-per-year service within the app. Now, with the ability to sign up for a free account, users will get a randomly generated address, which will work for up to 14 days.

After that 14-day trial is up, users will be able to sign up for their own personalize email address from the service, as long as they are willing to fork over the money.

It’s worth noting now that Hey is not offering an in-app purchase for signing up for the service. Basecamp is still avoiding this, which is obviously one of the rules within Apple’s App Store that the company has been leaning on in this particular case. But Basecamp believes the implementation of the free account and the 14-day free trial should get Apple to ease up.

So we got down to it, and worked the weekend to get an update on Apple’s desk Monday morning. Our team did a great job implementing the product changes that Schiller asked for, and first thing this morning, right after we shipped 1.0.2 to our customers, we submitted 1.0.3 to the App Store for approval.

This new version introduces a new free option for the iOS app. Now users can sign up directly in-app for a free, temporary, randomized email address that works for 14 days. Think of it like a temporary SIM card you buy when traveling. Or for when you don’t want to give out your real email address, like a short term “for sale” listing, like Craigslist does it.

Another new addition for the app is focused on enterprise customers. The addition makes it possible for these customers to add multi-user support, and is yet another new feature that Basecamp is bringing to the Hey email app in direct response to Apple’s issues.

This is far from over, though, because Apple could still raise some concerns even after these changes have been added. Basecamp’s CTO David Heinemeier Hansson says they are basically going to be taking Schiller “at his word” in regards to these changes, which should be enough to not only keep the app in the App Store, but also make it possible for the developers to continue to release software updates and bug fixes.

But we’ll have to wait and see what happens next.

Have you tried out the Hey email app? If so, what do you think of it?