That Apple has been banning iPhone apps from its App Store is no news to you. I myself have made a passing mention of it a couple of weeks ago.
1. Andrew Mason’s “Pull My Finger”, a silly, funny if you like, app that makes fart noises was rejected on grounds of limited utility. Andrew has since been campaigning for the app to gain entry into the App store.
2. Almerica’s Podcaster was rejected since it duplicates the functionality of the Podcast section of iTunes. Podcaster has an additional feature: it allows users to download them directly to devices.
3. Nullriver’s Netshare lets users use their iPhones as a modem for their laptops. Cool? Banned.
4. Angelo DiNardi’s MailWrangler allows users to switch between their Gmail accounts seamlessly. Something like MailPlane for desktops. Another sad story.
I’m not an iPhone fanatic, and these are only vignettes that I’ve come across here and there. Perhaps these got good coverage, with good reason. There may be several applications out there in the market waiting for the App Store to open its gates, or licking their wounds after being thrown out.
As you can see, some of these applications more than “duplicate functionality” and have more than “limited utility”. True competition would allow regardless of similarities, minute or not. Just because someone in Apple may have dreamt some functionality, and has a potential to make it into a reality some day, doesn’t justify this.
With the rising toll, new workarounds have been coming up.
1. Contacting Apple addressing their issues. What are the odds?
2. Renaming the app. It makes sense especially if the app has been rejected because of the possibility that users might confuse it with another application.
3. Distributing through other means like Cydia or Ad Hoc. Works, but how much exposure does one get?
4. Android. The most frequently heard war cry, only time can tell how successful this can be.