From Cromulent Labs, whose app launching widget was initially approved by Apple and then removed from the App Store:
But this time I decided to make a more concerted effort, start a company, and see if I could make some app (or apps) that could simply keep me employed and pay the bills….As with any iOS app, there was a chance (perhaps this this case, more than most) that the app would be rejected by Apple, but I figured it was worth the risk once I determined that it was technically feasible and I found nothing in the App Extension Programming Guide that disallowed it.
And that’s the problem. More and more people are creating businesses and sometimes quitting their jobs hoping they can make it on the App Store. Some do. Many fail. And yet others create a wonderful app, featured by Apple, loved by users, only to later have Apple squash their hard work. The developer assumes all the risk and often pays for it.
I pleaded with this person to make public whatever guidelines they make available for app reviewers to decide what is acceptable and what is not regarding widgets. The Apple representative responded by saying that they prefer that the rules remain vague because that allows developers to come up with innovative ideas and also allows Apple to be flexible in case they change their minds later. When pressed on the issue of their policies leading to wasted developer time, I was told, “If you are afraid something you are working on will be rejected, then don’t work on it.”
During this same conversion, I also asked specifically why Launcher was removed from the App Store after 9 days when other similar apps are still available weeks later….They basically said that Launcher was a trailblazer in uncharted territories and that they felt that they needed to make an example of it in order to get the word out to developers that its functionality is not acceptable without them having to publish new specific guidelines. And they said that the fact that they aren’t seeing hundreds of similar apps submitted every day is proof to them that taking down Launcher was successful in this regard.
I’m so thankful that the apps I depend on to earn a living aren’t in the App Store. Stories like this one and Panic’s recent rejection make me want to give the developer a hug and introduce him to Mac development.
It’s becoming harder and harder to justify the risk of building an app and launching it on the App Store. Developers bear all of the risk. And even after approval by Apple, there’s the looming threat that Apple could reverse their decision at any time.
It all goes back to what I wrote in response to Brent Simmons‘s question, where are the indie iOS developers? Other than game developers, I don’t think there are or can be any. It’s just too dangerous. If you want to earn a living, move to the Mac, get out from under Apple’s foot, and charge a sustainable price for your work.