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Is Apple becoming everything they used to mock?

July 21, 2009

Friendly, different, open, artistic, creative, intuitive.  All words that would better describe Apple than, say, Microsoft right?

Here is the commercial that introduced the Macintosh computer to the world in 1984.  Fast forward now to 2009, and think about the iPhone App Store.  What a wonderful store it is, you can find anything you want and lots and lots of things you would never need.  It is cool and hip, much like Apples real stores are and much like the Apple Brand is with its iPhone, iPod, iTunes, etc.

What they want you to see

What Apple wants you to see

Apple is a wonderful company and Microsoft is a greedy company that cares nothing for its users as long as they keep giving them their money….or so I’ve heard from countless people, no doubt nudged along by those wonderful Apple vs PC commercials.  But what if you are a developer, trying to build an app for the iPhone?  How wonderful are they then?

Well lets just take a look at one such developer who wasn’t trying to create an earth shattering, groundbreaking new app, but simply create two app versions of his book.  One to give away for free and another $1 version, with a new forward, with all proceeds going to charity.  Surely that should be fairly simple right?

The application was simple and took little time to complete…..having Apple approve it would prove to be a little more work than actually creating it.  If you aren’t aware, the only place to sell or distribute iPhone Apps is in the App Store, and the only way to get them there is to have them approved by some faceless Apple employee who gets to decide whats good and what’s just not good enough.

the Gold version of my application was rejected. But the e-mail note I received two days ago just said that it was “requiring unexpected additional time for review.” Is it rejected or am I just waiting for the reviewer to come back from a meeting?

Rejected: 1

Accepted: 0

One of my two applications — the free version without the new forward — was accepted and published by the App Store after several months of rejection. I like to think of this as a victory even though the charity version with the new forward was rejected again about the same time. The only difference was an extra block of text.

Rejected: 2

Accepted: 1

So I guessed a bit, duplicated some of the users’ problems, and rushed out a bug fix. There was no need to scramble, though, because the App Store team took about two weeks to approve the dozen or so new lines of code I had added to my application.

Even when you seem to be home free, you’re not. Two months after the first acceptance and several weeks after approving version 1.0.2, the mysterious masters of secrecy decided there was something very bad in the code. The App Store rejected the app anew.

Rejected: 3

Accepted: 1 0

After having it rejected a few more times, for various tedious reasons it was once again Approved, quick start the parade.

Rejected: 5 Can’t keep track anymore

Accepted: 0 1

The latest twist is that my application is again rejected (a few weeks after it was approved) because PhoneGap is now officially forbidden.

Oh never mind, cancel the parade.

Rejected: 5 If I couldn’t keep track before how can I now?

Accepted: 1 0

What they are turning into

What Apple is turning into

Since I am having trouble keeping track anyway, I’ll just cut to the chase.  This simple book to app was rejected somewhere in the neighborhood of a dozen times before being approved.  Although there was not allowed to be any mention of the proceeds of the $1 version going to charity in the App Store.  Apparently charity isn’t good for business or something, not that Apple would ever be that heartless……right?

Back to the 1984 Macintosh commercial.  Does this not seem to be the exact kind of thing that Apple was using to try to seperate themselves from the Microsofts of the world, the cold heartless corporate computer companies?

The whole article by Peter Wayner can be read here.

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