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Businesses Software The Almighty Buck Apple

How To Get Rejected From the App Store 252

snydeq writes "Fatal Exception's Neil McAllister catalogs 12 sure-fire ways to get your app rejected from Apple's notoriously fickle App Store. From executing interpreted code, to using Apple's APIs without permission, to designing your UI, each transgression has been abstracted from real-life rejections — for the most part because Apple seems to be making up the rules as it goes along. 'It'd be nice for Apple to make conditions for rejection clear,' McAllister writes. 'Apple has been tinkering with the language of its iPhone SDK license agreement lately, but that hasn't done much to clarify the rules — unless you're Adobe. For everyone else, the App Store's requirements seem as vague and capricious as ever.'"
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How To Get Rejected From the App Store

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  • Re:Streaming (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 03, 2010 @05:08PM (#32450728)

    One app got rejected. There's plenty other ones, including Pandora.

    It's just some fluff article to get them clickthroughs.

  • Re:Streaming (Score:3, Informative)

    by 1000101 ( 584896 ) on Thursday June 03, 2010 @05:10PM (#32450762)
    I don't get that one either. I'm listening to Pandora Internet Radio on my iPhone right now.
  • by schon ( 31600 ) on Thursday June 03, 2010 @05:26PM (#32450944)

    No, it's nothing like Calvinball.

    In Calvinball, both players got to change the rules. With the iphone, only Apple gets to.

  • by Lunix Nutcase ( 1092239 ) on Thursday June 03, 2010 @05:35PM (#32451052)

    The issue there was that Microsoft app writers (like Microsoft Office) were able to use private APIs and nobody else was.

    Except that according to people like Raymond Chen, the Office folks were just crappily reverse engineering those private APIs and doing things they weren't supposed to be doing by having done so.

    From a a comment in this [msdn.com] article posted by him:

    The functions were exported only by ordinal. There was no documentation, there was no LIB file to link against, the function wasn't named; you had to reverse-engineer the LIB file and link with it. Surely that must've been a clue that what you were doing was the slightest bit dodgy. Office probably found those undocumented functions the same way you did. In the Windows division, we treat Microsoft applications the same as any other company's applications. In fact, earlier versions of the programs now known collectively as Office were such problems that -- I hope the Office folks' feelings aren't hurt by this -- we made up insulting names for them just to keep our sanity. The only one that comes to mind right now is "PowerPig". (I must point out that in the intervening years, the Office folks have done a fabulous job of getting their act together.)

  • by sethstorm ( 512897 ) * on Thursday June 03, 2010 @05:37PM (#32451084) Homepage

    Those were ready examples of things that Apple put in later-generation revisions of their software and/or devices that they said were not important.

    Apple just wanted to gauge importance by seeing how much someone will protest about its non-presence.

  • by The Qube ( 749 ) on Thursday June 03, 2010 @05:57PM (#32451350)

    I have no problem with "just cause" if there are avenues for communication and appeal. However...

    My app was kicked out of the App Store after 12 months [virtualcricket.mobi]. It was the best app for cricket scores out there - #1 app in almost all cricket-playing countries, great online and offline reviews, featured by Apple several times etc. All of the scores etc for it were obtained from legal sources. However, the developers for the official app of the Indian Premier League (sort-of international cricket competition in March/April every year) complained to Apple that my app infringed on their exclusive rights to provide information on IPL matches and, after a bit of back-and-forth arguments between myself and them, Apple pulled the app.

    Now, it's not the fact that they pulled it without "just cause" that upset me, but that they refused to comment and communicate about it in any way. I repeatedly sent emails to various official (and unofficial) contacts at Apple to seek clarification, complain and get the app re-instated, but not a peep from anyone. I even sent an official DMCA Counter Notification and not a single response on that either.

    After no word from anyone for a long while, I had to close the service even for existing users who already had the app on their iPhones 'cos I couldn't afford to keep paying for the match data feeds with no revenues. Apple's decision has cost me thousands of dollars, but again, what really upsets me is the total lack of professionalism and common courtesy that they have displayed in this.

  • by s73v3r ( 963317 ) <s73v3r.gmail@com> on Thursday June 03, 2010 @05:58PM (#32451368)
    If you don't want to see it, then go into your preferences and uncheck Apple. Poof. You won't see any more Apple stories.
  • by idontgno ( 624372 ) on Thursday June 03, 2010 @06:37PM (#32451862) Journal

    The number one problem with Apple marketing is that some people accidentally believe it.

    It's interesting that the sages of ancient wisdom understood Apple long before it was created. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Scorpion_and_the_Frog [wikipedia.org]

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 03, 2010 @06:43PM (#32451962)

    Yes but the updated version relevant to apple is called "The Douche and the Moron."

  • by GlassHeart ( 579618 ) on Thursday June 03, 2010 @07:21PM (#32452376) Journal

    The fact that Apple calls its lead tech PR staff, "Evangelists" is creepy on so many levels. . !

    A quick search on linkedin.com shows me people working for Rovi, Sybase, OgilvyInteractive, Gryphon, Elgato, Adobe, Addictive Mobility, Microsoft, Prezi, Nokia, AOL, Mozilla, IBM, HP, and as you point out, Apple, with that word in their job titles. Perhaps you just don't get out much?

  • by Weezul ( 52464 ) on Thursday June 03, 2010 @10:15PM (#32453790)

    Android phones will run unsigned apps, right? I'd assume you could maintain your Android app outside the marketplace, which isn't the same revenue stream, but might pay for the data feed.

    In any case, I actually suggested developing a business around porting existing successful iPhone apps to Qt on Symbian, which probably goes way beyond the abilities of out iPhone developer, but nevertheless represents a solid business model with many potential corporate customers.

    In fact, I specifically mentioned Symbian because Nokia still kinda owns the lower tier smartphone market outside the U.S., including all Cricket playing countries. But WebOS, Blackberry, and Windows Mobile are also all perfectly viable platforms, but you just better know your target audience.

  • by mykos ( 1627575 ) on Thursday June 03, 2010 @10:59PM (#32454006)
    I think people with popular "rejected" apps should put them (maybe they already are?) on Cydia. My iPhone has been much more useful (and has a prettier interface) since I started getting my apps from there.
  • by steveha ( 103154 ) on Friday June 04, 2010 @12:12AM (#32454440) Homepage

    To advantage which of it own Apps does Apple use its OS advantage ?

    On the iPad, only Apple software can multitask (this article [bnet.com] has a list: email client, SMS text client, and other apps). On any of their platforms, only Apple software may use the APIs that let you customize the way the UI widgets display. Only Apple software can use the full functionality of the accelerometer [daringfireball.net]. Here is a blog post [vlad1.com] discussing some undocumented OS X features that made Safari much faster than Firefox 3. And here [samsoff.es] is a blog post discussing how several apps were rejected for using undocumented functionality. And here [onlamp.com] is a whole article discussing undocumented Apple APIs, with examples of cool stuff that only Apple's own software is allowed to do. And here [mozillazine.org] is an article discussing cool things that Safari can do, that Firefox isn't allowed to do. And here [theregister.co.uk] is a column that claims that Apple inserts undocumented APIs and uses them in its own code for years, without ever documenting them (but presumably without breaking them because it would break Apple's own code). Even the APIs for the WiFi are undocumented [bnet.com].

    I understand the argument that Apple doesn't want to commit to supporting these APIs forever, like Microsoft has had to do with even obscure APIs in Windows. If you use these undocumented APIs to do cool things, and Apple revises the OS, your app may break. And Apple doesn't want the customer to think it's Apple's fault that your app broke.

    But I also understand the argument that some of these APIs allow for really cool stuff, which is currently reserved only for Apple. People don't like this.

    As for me, give me Linux anyway. No such thing as an "undocumented" API, and there is no entity that has an unfair advantage over everyone else, and I can install any software I want.


  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 04, 2010 @08:56AM (#32457098)

    That was an epic fail.

    • It's "DOS ain't done 'til Lotus won't run". Note that it scans and rhymes (more or less).
    • And it's not true anyway [proudlyserving.com].

    But you did get a consolation Troll mod. Well done!

  • Couple Questions... (Score:3, Informative)

    by multimediavt ( 965608 ) on Friday June 04, 2010 @11:32AM (#32459026)

    I am also an iPhone OS developer and have had no problem working with Apple and the App Store so I am curious about the fervor surrounding rejections. I have some simple questions to ask you:

    1. How much research did you do into the information licensing that may surround the data you were aggregating?

    I ask this because I created a drink recipe and general bartending app and I had to do quite a bit of research into what is and is not copyrighted, trademarked, etc. before we began development. I found out through that research that drink names can be copyrighted, but recipes cannot, for instance. As a parallel to your case in the sporting world, the National Football League (NFL), retains the rights to all information, statistics, visual and audio accounts of games, etc. You CANNOT reproduce any American football game, publish stats, etc., etc. without the "express written permission of the NFL". Now, a developer may have a problem with that, and if they created a NFL app for the Apple App Store it would probably be rejected and they might face legal action from the NFL, but that's not Apple's fault. Frankly, that was just well intentioned ignorance on the developer's part for not doing their homework.

    2. How many applications have you self published?

    Again, I ask this because there are TONS of legal issues that surround publishing applications, especially those that aggregate the work of others or otherwise rely on a pre-existing event, creative work, etc. I don't deny that your application was a "good idea", but it wasn't well thought out from a legal perspective and it eventually caught up to you. I have personally rejected app ideas from my developers and business partners specifically because they were based on someone else's idea in another arena. I rejected a "Wrap It Up" app because I was worried that Dave Chappelle's people would come after us and sue us for ripping off his idea. There have been a few others along those lines, where the idea sounded good in a vacuum, but would potentially create legal issues in the real world and get us sued. Don't want that.

    I will admit, that there have been some odd rejections in the App Store from time-to-time, but a majority of the cases I've seen are clearly violations of Apple's SDK Agreement, or are targets for copyright or trademark infringement. I think your ire in this case would be better directed at the IPL, but if it's anything like the NFL ... good luck with that! This certainly wasn't a case where Apple did something wrong. They pulled an application that was clearly violating a legal copyright to information and its distribution. In this crazy intellectual property hoarding world we are currently in you have to do your homework and make an educated decision about what applications may or may not violate someone else's rights.

"I don't believe in sweeping social change being manifested by one person, unless he has an atomic weapon." -- Howard Chaykin