Rogue Amoeba Dropping iPhone Development Due To App Review Process

Long time Mac developer Rogue Amoeba has announced that they too have decided to stop developing software for the iPhone. Their reason, like Facebook developer Joe Hewitt, is Apple’s “broken” App Store approval process. Specifically, it took three and a half months for a minor bug fix to Airfoil Speakers Touch [App Store] to hit the App Store, all thanks to Apple.

The initial update submitted to Apple simply changed a bit of code to make the app work better although it was rejected for using “Apple-owned Graphic Symbols.”

From Rogue Amoeba:


Airfoil Speakers Touch displays an image of the sending Mac, with a screenshot showing the source application. If you’re sending from an iMac with Safari as your source (as pictured), it shows your iMac running Safari. If you’re sending from a MacBook Pro, it shows a MacBook Pro, and so on. These computer images are provided by Mac OS X itself, using a public function expressly for this purpose.

We also show the source application’s icon – Safari in the above example. This icon also comes from a public function provided by Apple as part of Mac OS X. These functions are expressly made to enable developers to get this artwork, and use it just as we are.

We’ve done this before, in Airfoil on the Mac and Windows, when we talk to the Apple TV. It’s a nice little bit of polish, but it’s also functional – it lets the user verify what machine they’re receiving from, what source application, and what that source application is doing. Nonetheless, it seemed from this rejection that Apple wanted it out.

Naively, we simply re-submitted the application without changes, in the hopes of getting a more sensible reviewer. A full four weeks later, on August 31st, we were rejected again.

The app bounced around in the review process several times before Rogue Amoeba finally replaced all Apple artwork with an image of the EFF logo. When tapped, the logo takes you to a page describing why the change was made.

Rogue Amoeba believes that, until the app approval process is fixed (or done away with), the App Store isn’t worth their time.


In the future, we hope that developers will be allowed to ship software without needing Apple’s approval at all, the same way we do on Mac OS X. We hope the App Store will get better, review times will be shorter, reviews will be more intelligent, and that we can all focus on making great software. Right now, however, the platform is a mess.

The chorus of disenchanted developers is growing and we’re adding our voices as well. Rogue Amoeba no longer has any plans for additional iPhone applications, and updates to our existing iPhone applications will likely be rare. The iPhone platform had great promise, but that promise is not enough, so we’re focusing on the Mac.


We’re quite happy to see another major developer boycotting the App Store and frankly, we hope that more follow.

[via Daring Fireball]

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