The first app that I submitted to apple, back in October 2008, I called DropClock. It basically measures freefall time and calculates distance fallen from the time the iPhone was falling. It’s meant as a joke of course. This is not what I meant when I wrote about making your apps crash proof.
If you drop the iPhone three times over a certain height an image of a cracked screen is shown and the iphone does not react to input for 20 seconds. Then a button saying “Ha Ha!” appears that takes you back to the main screen.
At the time I figured that I would make millions with this simple app due to it’s novelty factor. But such instant wealth never materialized. Instead I had to wait for 7 months, contacting the review team three times about it. Finally Apple has handed down it’s verdict:
Thank you for submitting DropClock to the App Store. We’ve reviewed DropClock and determined that we cannot post this version of your iPhone application to the App Store at this time because it encourages a physical activity that could result in a customer damaging their iPhone. We have chosen to not publish this type of application to the App Store.
If you believe you can make the necessary modifications to bring your application in compliance with iPhone Software License Agreement, we encourage you to do so and resubmit it for review.
I am not extremely sad about this as DropClock was just a silly experiment which only took me a day to implement. But several things can be learned from this experience. If your app is so unique that it does not fit with any of the SDK agreement paragraphs most likely Apple will take up to 7 months of not reacting on your submission. Previously I called this “Neverending Review Bin”, now I know that it extends to about half a year.
The second interesting fact though seems to be that Apple feels that they need to protect silly customers from hurting their phones. Law over here in Europe does not blame the manufacturer of a device if a nitwit damages this device. In the US however it’s not unheard of that sombody sues the maker of a microwave because no warning label prevented him from drying his cat in it. So while DropClock might cause more sales of iPhones, Apple does not want to risk the liability.
The same seems to apply for a whole category of apps. Need I mention fart apps? Only difference, apps that might cause customers to physically damage their iPhones are highly unlikely to ever be permitted in the store. Apple’s feedback mentions “this type of application” So Apple’s summary judgement seems to apply to a great deal more than just my own app. Namely all apps that could damage an iPhone.
I probably won’t bother messing around with the app any more. PayPal me a Dollar to my wedding fund at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll send you the source code. Let’s see if YOU are smart enough to not damange your precious device.