iPhone app developer quits over approval process

Frustration over the App Store approval process led one developer to call it quits and go back to developing only Mac applications.

Jim Dalrymple
Jim Dalrymple Special to CNET News
Jim Dalrymple has followed Apple and the Mac industry for the last 15 years, first as part of MacCentral and then in various positions at Macworld. Jim also writes about the professional audio market, examining the best ways to record music using a Macintosh. He is a member of the CNET Blog Network and is not an employee of CNET. He currently runs The Loop.
2 min read
Paul Kafasis
Paul Kafasis O'Reilly

Apple's App Store boasts more than 100,000 apps and more than 2 billion downloads, but not all of its developers are as happy as some would think. One well-respected developer decided to call it quits.

Citing his frustration with the App Store approval process, Rogue Amoeba's Paul Kafasis said on his company's blog last week that he is throwing in the towel on iPhone app development after an exasperating three-and-a-half month app approval.

Rogue Amoeba

"Rogue Amoeba no longer has any plans for additional iPhone applications, and updates to our existing iPhone applications will likely be rare," said Kafasis. "The iPhone platform had great promise, but that promise is not enough, so we're focusing on the Mac."

Kafasis' growing irritation with the App Store centers around an update he wanted to release for his Airfoil Speakers Touch iPhone app. The app allows users to receive audio from any Mac or Windows-based PC and the update fixed some issues with audio sync.

However, Apple rejected the update because it used images of Apple products in the app. The way Airfoil Speakers Touch works is that it shows you graphically what machine and application your audio is coming from on the host computer. If you are connected to an iMac running Safari, that's what will show up in the iPhone app.

This isn't something that Kafasis hacked together--this functionality is freely available as part of Mac OS X for developers to use. In fact, Airfoil Speakers Touch 1.0 was still in the App Store, approved by Apple, with these images.

"The only thing Apple's process was doing was preventing a needed bug-fix from reaching the hands of our mutual customers," said Kafasis.

Rogue Amoeba

In order to get the fixes to customers, Kafasis took out all of the offending images and replaced them with the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) logo. If you tap on the logo, you will be taken to a page explaining why the images have been removed.

Kafasis is asking users to consider donating to the EFF. While the organization isn't involved with his decision to place its logo in his app, "if Apple is to change, it may take such an organization to make it happen," he said.

As a developer, Kafasis also wants users to know the frustrations they have to go through to put out software. "We wanted to ship a simple bug fix, and it took almost four months of slow replies, delays, and dithering by Apple," said Kafasis. "All the while, our buggy, and supposedly infringing version, was still available. There's no other word for that but 'broken.'"

This isn't the end of the road for Kafasis. A Mac developer for 11 years, he will re-focus his efforts back to his many popular Mac applications and continue developing for that platform.