alistairphillips.com

I’m : a web and mobile developer based in the Manning Valley, Australia.


Apple iPhone AppStore Rejections

iPhone Gaydar Apple did reply, scroll down to see I like Apple and love their products, the iPhone has been a real hit and the AppStore a runaway success, and most of this is down to developers. Development of iPhone/iPod Touch applications has been interesting, especially with what the powerful platform allows you to do. But it's the next step, dealing with Apple, where things can fall down. And my have they plunged for me.

My first, meant to be funny/joke, application was called 'Gaydar' and allowed one to take an image from the camera or select one from your library. Once it had a picture it did a 'scan' and randomly selected whether to mark the person as gay, straight or bi. It then threw you onto another screen displaying the results with a funny quote to go with it.

Yeah there's not much to the application but it's still something. So off I went, registered for the £59 developer programme and submitted to Apple. First reply was within less than a week - only to be rejected.

Rejection number 1 - May 21, 2009 at 8:11 PM

we cannot post this version of your iPhone application to the App Store because it contains objectionable content, content that ridicules public figures and is in violation of Section 3.3.12 from the iPhone SDK Agreement.

Fair enough, they were even thoughtful to include a screenshot or two. The offending item about a public figure was "Not all men vote for bush", obviously not meant to refer to the former President. Okay no problem, I'll remove that and even send them all the strings used so they could look through for anything else that they did no deem appropriate.

I replied to the email, including the reference number that they asked, but never received any reply. At all. Nothing. After waiting a couple of weeks with no reply I resubmitted but with any comments that I thought might be borderline removed from the application. And even better, iPhone OS 3.0 was going to be released soon so I marked this with a rating of 17+ with the necessary restrictions. Surely that will help?

Rejection number 2 - Jun 29, 2009 at 10:04 PM

Rejected, again, but this time only for 'objectionable content'. No screenshots or any other comments. Right, so what do I do? Well I reply again (making sure to include the reference number) and send through all the strings and ask Apple for advice. Nothing.

My next submission was on the extreme side, I removed all comments from the application so as to only display the gender of the scanned 'victim' and our classification of gay, straight or bi. Can you guess where this is heading?

Rejection number 3 - Jul 9, 2009 at 8:24 PM

Yeah strike 3 and we're out with the exact same reason as rejection number 2. Meh. So Apple obviously never wanted this application since the start, and no doubt had issues with the original idea. Perhaps it would have been nice of them to say this at the start instead of leading one on with their vague responses. After all there are only so many changes one can (guess to) make when you're talking to a brick wall. And for Apple to invite for you to reply to their emails but ignore you - not on.

Apple, don't you think it's time that you were a bit more upfront about reasons for rejecting applications? Why not try and work with developers to sort this out? Apparently it's fine to have a Cylon scanner, and to label someone as a Cylon, but no label someone as gay/straight/bi, in what is obviously a joke application, is offensive. How about perhaps letting someone who is 17+ being able to decide that for themselves?

Gaydar Scientific Scanner will have to be shelved, no doubt indefinitely, as Apple are not keen on working together with the people that help make their products a success.

Apple replies

It's often weird the way things workout as a day after posting this I received a call from Apple. For the life of me I can't remember the persons name but they said that Apple has many applications in the 'objectionary content' bag and mine happened to fall into it too. Apple is quite afraid of the backlash of customers moaning about applications that could, in any way, make a certain demographic of people feel bad. So unless I could 'change' my application so as not to offend anyone (i.e Apple) then the 'Rejected' stamp will still apply. I guess that the fact of it not offending me does not count? Oh well!

(Always good to read others frustrations so iPhone App Store roulette: A tale of rejection does make me feel a bit better)