Apple has gotten a lot of guff (including from us) for giving developers headaches and laying down the law on certain things that don't always make sense or make us happy iPhone users, but this can be a good thing if the developer happens to be a bad guy trying to steal information or rip you off. Google opted for the polar opposite approval policy, leaving their Android Market wide open for all developers. The danger there is that you run the risk of allowing downright nasty malicious apps in and let people download them, which is exactly what has happened.
As many of you may know, Facebook released a much-anticipated update [App Store, Free] for its iPhone app yesterday which included two major new features; push notifications and the ability to sync your iPhone contacts with Facebook. Now because many of my contacts don't have photos, I turned on sync and toggled the "replace photos" option to off. Then disaster struck — well, kind of.
Long story short, the app replaced all of my contacts' photos without regard for that toggle switch. So to address the issue, Facebook released an update early this morning and everything works great now. But since when could developers release app updates in under 24 hours?
Back in August 2008, Qik announced that they had begun publicly beta testing their Qik streaming application for the iPhone. It worked well, but never showed up on the App Store due to submission restrictions. Now, nearly a year later, TechCrunch is reporting that Ustream's streaming app has finally been approved for the iPhone. The Ustream Live Broadcaster [App Store] lets you stream live video to Ustream over 3G/WiFi using the iPhone 3G & 3GS.
Many of you will remember that Steve Jobs allegedly approved the first live video streaming app last week. And while Knocking Live Video [App Store] allows users to stream live to another iPhone, Ustream is the first to allow true broadcast-style streaming.
Knocking Live Video [App Store, Free], the first app in the App Store with the ability to stream live video over 3G and Wi-Fi, has been approved, thanks to the intervention by none other than Apple's CEO, Steve Jobs. After initially being rejected for using private API's (the only way to enable video streaming in an iPhone app), the developer decided to write to Steve Jobs to try to fight for it's approval. Surprisingly, he was successful.
The App Store has received quite a lot of criticism recently, first with Facebook developer Joe Hewitt's decision to stop development for the iPhone, and then Rogue Amoeba announcing the same thing a day later. To defend Apple's position, Phil Schiller, Apple's senior vice-president for worldwide product marketing, sat down with BusinessWeek for an interview on the matter.
In the interview, Schiller defends the review process by stating that they've created a store that people can trust:
Apple has denied RSSPlayer from the App Store yet again, this time for the same reason as Rogue Amoeba: containing a picture of an iPhone. In it's previous life as Podcaster, the app could subscribe to, download, and listen to podcasts directly on the iPhone. Apple rejected it for duplicating the services provided by the podcast section of iTunes and the iPod app, but later let it in after a name change and a slight change in functionality.
Apple is intentionally prolonging the approval of three DJ applications from three different developers: Touch DJ from Amidio, Sonoasaurus from Pajamahouse Studios, and DJ Player from Musicsoft Arts. In protest, an ongoing online petition was organized, asking Apple to accept the apps for sale.
Apple "recently" started running all new App Store app submissions through a filter that checks their code for the use of private APIs. Private APIs, which have been prohibited in the developer agreement section 3.3.1, restricts the use of private APIs in apps. While the rule was always in place, it was impossible for reviewers to comb through the code of every application. Now, all apps with private APIs will be filtered out by machines.
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."
Joe Hewitt, the man at Facebook behind the wildly popular Facebook app for iPhone [App Store] has just announced that he's left the project. "Time for me to try something new. I’ve handed the Facebook iPhone app off to another engineer, and I’m onto a new project," said Hewitt earlier today on Twitter. Over the life of the Facebook app, Joe's essentially been the only dev working on the app, making this an extremely significant move. He's moved on to another project a Facebook, although we haven't heard who Facebook plans to put in his place.
After the announcement, TechCrunch caught up with Hewitt where he said that the move was due to Apple's approval policies: