Apple pulls AppGratis, App Store curation and promotion software

Enough has been said about so-called Apple dictatorship and app rejections on iDB so far and although I, for one, am usually first to support Apple in its curation efforts because it keeps junk away from the App Store, sometimes the company rejects submissions for competing with its own software or over offering a feature Apple plans on introducing in the near future.

Now, Apple's been after various app discovery apps for some time, even more so in this latest example involving AppGratis, a service which curates programs from the App Store and makes paid apps free for a day via revenue-sharing deals with their creators.

In fact, it's the revenue-sharing scheme which appears to go against Apple's rule which forbids software providing access to other third-party programs by using marketing tactics similar to Apple's App Store promotions...

After Being Rejected by Apple, Developers Turn to Cydia

You might remember a few weeks ago when we told you about Tribute Calendar, an application that paid tribute to Steve Jobs in the form of a calendar application that had been rejected by Apple.

The developers of the app didn't want to take "no" for an answer and did exactly what more developers should do: they turned to Cydia to release their app without the need of Apple's benediction...

Steve Jobs Tribute Calendar Rejected by Apple’s App Store Police

When Apple co-founder and former CEO Steve Jobs passed away in October, people around the world felt like they had lost someone they knew, if only through the devices they own that bear the Apple brand. Many took to Apple Stores as a way of paying their respects, leaving messages and Apple products when they left.

One iOS app developer decided that the best way to honor Jobs was to release a free calendar app on Apple's App Store honoring the late industry titan, but according to MacNN, Apple was not so keen on the idea. Apple's App Store review team decided to reject the app, meaning we will never get to see the tribute ourselves...

SkyFire Pulled From the App Store

It took Apple 2 months to approve SkyFire but it only took them a few hours to pull the plug on this app that converts Flash content to HTML5. SkyFire was released this morning in the App Store but it's already been taken down, for unknown reason.

If you look for SkyFire in the App Store right now, you're probably going to get the same result as the screenshot above.

Why do you think SkyFire was taken down?

UPDATE: We now know why SkyFire is not available anymore... 

Hey Apple, Lighten Up on Camera+ [Rant]

It's Friday, and (as usual), I feel like ranting before the weekend. On Wednesday we reported that Camera+ had "snuck" in a feature in its application, allowing the user to shutter using the volume buttons. This ability has been atop of the request list of many iPhone owners, in regards to Apple's native camera app. As we predicted, Apple put the kibosh on the useful addition, less than a day after it was made public by various outlets. Apparently Apple took offense to the developers at Taptaptap for actually listening to what the consumer has to say.

More often than not I usually side with the way Apple handles its business. Some have even *gasp*, called me a fanboy of sorts. I'm cool with that. What I'm not cool with is the disregard of public opinion about not only a harmless feature, but a very useful one added to a magnificent application.

Camera+ is no fly-by night app. In fact, it recently reported earnings of over $500,000.00, after Apple's 30% cut, in 60 days! Not a bad chunk of change for 2 months worth of exposure. I'm not suggesting Apple should change its policy because an app is making lots of money, as much I'm asking them what the big friggin deal is? It seems that those in charge got their panties in a bunch because Camera+ had previously tried to include the feature legitimately, but were denied because it was claimed the feature "was too confusing". Thanks for identifying (and in turn, insulting) our level of intelligence, Apple.

I understand that there has to be guidelines and enforcement surrounding the entries into the App Store I can even understand hidden circumvention that undermine policies, such as Handylight (which allowed users to tether for free), needing to be dealt with. Camera+'s "easter egg" wasn't included in the app itself. Those wishing to implement the volume button shuttering had to type an address in their Safari URL, and could also remove the ability doing the same. It was optional, until Apple decided to play enforcer.

There have to be rules, and I get that. But just because a rule exists doesn't mean it isn't a silly rule. Camera+ only "broke" policy because Apple told them their feature wasn't easily enough understood. Ironically enough, its Safari-based addition was easy enough to understand by enough people for Apple to kick the app out of the store.

So lighten up, Apple. Camera+ is and was one of the better applications out there. It enhanced the brilliant ability of both the iPhone 4's camera, and Retina Display. Go hassle some of the developers who promise to "find your friend's phone", or the fortune tellers. In fact, stop the hassling of non-abrasive implementations, and then there won't be these silly rules to break in the first place. Otherwise, be prepared to lose millions to Cydia, who I imagine would welcome such revenue. Just sayin'...

Enough With Apple Dictatorship

I am growing tired of Apple's ridiculous app approval process. There is not one day going by without Apple making the headlines of tech blogs for their absurd abuse of power over developers. At first, I covered these nonsensical rejections, but there's been so many that I stopped reporting them.

The latest grotesque rejection from the App Store is GV Mobile, a Google Voice application that was approved last April by Phil Schiller himself, Apple’s senior Vice President of Worldwide Product Marketing... Fast forward 3 months later and the app is rejected because it is "duplicating features that the iPhone comes with (Dialer, SMS, etc)". What a nonsense!

Last month, Apple rejected iLaugh Lite for no reason at all, saying that it reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to reject an application for any reason. If this doesn't sound like a pure dictatorship, I don't know what it is...

What really annoys me is that people don't seem to care much and just deal with it. If it was Microsoft doing the same thing, people would be ranting all over the web. But it's Apple, the great innovative, customer oriented company so that makes it ok... To me it doesn't!

Apple is taking the risk of seeing the most innovative developers jump over to Android or the Palm Pre, but does it really care? It seems to me Apple cares more about money coming in through fart applications than it cares about really pushing the limits of innovation in the App Store.

If you were looking for yet another reason the jailbreak your iPhone, then here you go. This is an opportunity for developers to flip their third finger to Apple and make their apps available on jailbroken iPhones. That's exactly what the developer of GV Mobile is going to do has done as GV Mobile is now available for free on Cydia. I just wish more developers would follow the jailbreak way. No one, including Apple, should dictate what I can and cannot do with my iPhone.

What do you think of the app approval process? Do you think it's ok for Apple to reject whatever it wants, or do you feel that you, the end user, should decide what's good or not for you?

As a side note, you can see that my Photoshop skills are very limited... If any of you guys want to make a better image for this article, feel free to get in touch with me.

Apple Dictatorship Hits Again

I try not to write too much about the app approval process because it seems to be a never ending discussion. However, some events piss me off so much sometimes that I have to vent out by writing a post about it. That's the case about a new app rejection I first heard about on TUAW.

Usually, when Apple rejects an app, it gives somewhat of a reason like "violating the SDK" or "objectionable content". This time though, the reason for rejecting an update to iLaugh Lite simply is that Apple can do whatever they want to do.

This to me is very similar to a dictatorship and it is absolutely scandalous. But what can you do? You can just shut up and hope things get better, just like the good obedient consumers we are.

Must Read: Diary of An iPhone App Store Reviewer

John Gruber wrote an absolutely hilarious blog post faking the diary of an App Store reviewer. It is a very sarcastic post showing the stupidity of the system. While it is pure fiction, you can't help realizing that Gruber is very close to reality, mostly on the app approval rejection process.

Here are some of my favorite pieces of the post:

Wednesday May 13

Began examining some game submitted a week or two ago. Slick UI, kind of fun to play. But: one of the help screen images shows a little icon representing an iPhone. Rejected the app with this message:

Thank you for submitting [app name] to the App Store. We’ve reviewed [app name] and determined that we cannot post this version of your iPhone application to the App Store because of an Apple trademark image. Rule 2 under “Unauthorized Use of Apple Trademarks” in Apple’s Copyright and Trademark Guidelines states:

“You may not use the Apple Logo or any other Apple-owned graphic symbol, logo, or icon on or in connection with web sites, products, packaging, manuals, promotional/advertising materials, or for any other purpose except pursuant to an express written trademark license from Apple, such as a reseller agreement.”

Peekababe Finally Makes It To The App Store

A couple of weeks ago, I reported about Peekababe being rejected from the App Store because it was too much of a sexy app. Well, even though the app doesn't seem to have changed at all, Peekababe is now allowed in the App Store, proving one more time that the app approval process is just a giant joke.

According to TechCrunch:

So why did Apple approve the app this time? Well it may be because Sookie now includes a 12+ rating for it. “My rating was based on the guidelines that they have for the iTunes store. Better to be safe than sorry,” Bigio says. There is also a clear note saying that it does not contain any nude or pornographic pictures. 12+ is kind of funny though. Something tells me a lot of parents wouldn’t want their 12-year-old playing with this app.

I really like the irony that it's not ok for kids under 12 to see ladies in sexy lingerie but it sure is ok for them to kill, rob, and sell drugs in the Mafia-like iPhone games...

You can download Peekababe on iTunes for $0.99.

Apple Approves Baby Shaker, Offensive App That Let’s You Shake A Baby To Death

We already know that the App Store app approval process sometimes doesn't make sense by rejecting applications that seem totally legit. The non-sense also goes about how Apple sometimes approve applications that should never be developed in the first place.

In Apple’s App Store right now is Baby Shaker, a new app which, displays a picture of a baby and plays crying sounds. To make it stop, you have to shake your iPhone really hard, after which the crying will stop and two X’s will be placed over the baby’s eyes — implying, of course, that the baby is dead. I’m not kidding.

According to TechCrunch, "a woman who lost her own son in 2007 after he was shaken to death, brought the app to CNET’s attention. And rightfully so".

Baby Shaker [download link] has to be the most offensive app I've seen so far in the App Store, and I really wonder how someone at Apple could have ever approved this. I'm pretty sure the app won't stay long in the App Store.

Here is a video of Baby Shaker in action:

Apple Rejects Peekababe: Too Sexy App

Apple has once again shown its inconsistency and its limit on creativity by rejecting the iPhone’s sexy new app Peekababe, as first discussed on Download Squad.

You can check out Peekababe on YouTube, and the only thing you see is that the user can take the clothes off the beautiful models to leave them in their seductive lingerie. You can also save these hot pics for your iPhone’s wallpaper.

Peekababe doesn’t have any kind of nude or pornographic pics. So why did Apple reject it??? An insider commented that Apple rejected the app for claims of excessive sexual content. Oh, so it’s not OK for Peekababe’s models to show some skin and their lingerie, but it’s OK to kill, dismember, and chainsaw a game character on the iPhone?!

A special thanks to Tom for sending this in :)

iPhone Applications Graveyard

Peter Hosey, developer on the Adium X and Growl projects has dedicated a page on his website for applications that Apple killed.

This page lists every application that Apple has killed, along with the reason that they stated for doing so, and what has happened to the app since.

So far, the page only shows 10 rejected applications, including NetShare, I am Rich, MailWrangler, and Podcaster.

Contact Peter if you know of any other application that has been rejected by Apple.