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Banned iPhone Apps and Workarounds

Posted by Sravan | September 26, 2008 .

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.

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6 Comments so far
  1. Tom Van den Eynde  September 27, 2008 4:29 am

    It’s actually funny to see that history indeed repeats itself because even big companies that must have smart guys on board make the same mistakes over and over. It won’t take long before people start bashing Apple like they have been doing with Microsoft the past 10 years. Why can’t a big company keep its friendly touch? Just because they’re greedy or are they just to dumb??? Even Google has to be careful - they’re also becoming pretty greedy with Google Adwords. I really hope that Adobe doesn’t go down the same road…

  2. Sravan  September 27, 2008 8:45 am

    Apple is already there, Tom. It has been named most monopolizing company in the world, when, last year? And yeah, I’ve been hearing a lot of flak from fellow bloggers about Google Adsense. I really won’t be surprised if Adobe follows suit, if we don’t count James Whittaker being forced to rename his FreshAirApps as RefreshingApps.

    The problem as a corporation grows is that, their legal department starts becoming more proactive from defensive. They perhaps get bored otherwise. It is not surprising if many of these rejections are made without the notice of developers within.

  3. henry  September 1, 2009 6:42 pm

    Apple sucks no porn, use instalus

  4. Anonymous  September 1, 2009 6:52 pm

    doesn’t matter to me, I got my iPhone for free, so paying for Apps doesn’t really matter. Anyways, if you wanna get one, just take a few surveys and refer some friends at http://linktoit.us/free

  5. Matthew Faulkerson  September 1, 2009 9:30 pm

    Everyone loves to bash MS and here Apple is doing the exact same thing, Im glad I never purchased a single apple product in my life

  6. drDoomulous  September 11, 2010 7:08 pm

    I am 46 years old. I have a credit card linked to my payments so they know I am an adult at apple. I bought my phone direct from apple as well. All in all they have far too much info as it is. That said, I like porn, nothing dodgy expected or searched for on the store, but the fact is, I am old enough to make my own decisions as to what I like, up to and including what I deem acceptable for a background image. Apples ‘Moms apple pie’ mentality is probably one of the biggest reasons for people jailbreaking (obviously behind the piracy option for many as well). Factor in the restrictions that apple artificially enforce on bluetooth, wifi searches (important for those on a tariff that cant access the cloud), porn, morally dubious ‘in apples eyes’ games such as southpark, and suddenly you see the likes of Android becoming an ever more viable option. Apple are in danger of tying things up so tight that people will go elsewhere on principle. As things stand, there are a lot of options on handsets that make android look ever better and are a guarantee that any advantage apple currently hold is getting eaten by the challenges of a multiple amount of manufacturers. Trying to hold the Moral highground may look good to many, especially readers of highbrow newspapers and those who in reality know little if anything about the phones or the app stores, but being ‘Nice and morally responsible’ will always appeal to the ad men more than any potential negative ‘Apple sells Neo Nazi Rohypnol game on App store’ anyone? Put simply, their attempts at censorship and Moral guidance (albeit under the quality control guise) will eventually lose them a lot of customers. All that said, any loss will be slow to hurt them. With product made in china at reduced labour rates and a brand name that has a very loyal following from a huge percentage of apple fanboys, and further coupled to the fact that the Iphone is a nice phone with good enough features for most owners, and any hits will likely take an eternity for them to realitically realise why many are not buying into the name or are not staying with them long term. The Android and Microsoft operating systems can only climb in market share, while apples dominance in the smart phone market is potentially peaking. With only one handset (and the ipad/itouch) available, they are perhaps closing themselves out of an already busy marketplace with their current mentality. Had Jailbreaking not been around, I would never have bought in to the apple name. It isnt piracy that interests me, its the freedom to choose and the ability to have a functional bluetooth option above the limited 2 profiles the apple IOS allows in a normal phone

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