Submitting an app to iTunes and getting rejected

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Spoiler alert for those who cannot bare reading two paragraphs: it all ends well and my new silly app ends up in iTunes!


 

With iOS and Android in the rear mirror, I’ve been experimenting with Unity. No big plans to create big games, just learning the environment in case I actually need to use it someday. The learning curve seems fairly decent, the code, compile, debug, run cycle is quick and gratifying. Deploying to mobile is a bit of a pain, but if you don’t use too much of mobile specific hardware the deployment should not be very frequent.

As a meaningful conclusion to my intro to Unity I wanted to release an app. Well, two apps, an iOS and Android since I can do it with a single source.

What kind of app should I write? It needs to meet these:

  • I have only a few partials evenings and weekends to code it
  • It needs to provide some learning experience of Unity platform, including its mobile deployments
  • It needs to be on a subject that I find interesting

 

Well, having enjoyed working with computer vision libraries, such as OpenCV, in the past and camera apps I wanted to give a try of a simple camera app. Being a big fan of ITP Show I already had an app in mind. Simple, sick humored, somewhat entertaining, just like many projects @ITP.

So I here I go: “Creepy Eyes” app for iOS and Android

The apps is 3D eyes that will animate and “look” at jerky movements using front facing camera. It’s meant to be mounted on a wall and creep out passers by.

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I am not writing this post to have you download these apps. iOS version is doing okay comparing to some apps that get no downloads. Whatever… Getting downloads is not the point.

The interesting part of this story is the fact that app got rejected by Apple.

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Why?

The app was deemed useless! More specifically it violated Apple’s “fall-though rejection clause”:
2.12 – Apps that are not very useful, unique, are simply web sites bundled as Apps, or do not provide any lasting entertainment value may be rejected

WTF?
Half of the apps in stores are useless!

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Now what?

  • I have already exhausted the number of hours I was willing to allocate to this app
  • I have already ran out of creativity to fix this particular app
  • I really don’t have time or patience for back-and-forth games with Apple

Let me try to reason with Apple!

Grunge rubber stamp with word Reason,vector illustration

Luckily, there is a dispute link which takes me to a form where you can try to reason with Apple.

So I type in a few sentences maxing out my creative writing skills. I don’t want to publish the exact text because it’s likely against Apple’s terms, but here is the gist of what I told them:

  • The app is not trivial, it uses an Optical Flow computer vision algorithm. I did not tell them the app uses OpenCV
  • The app is a camera app, as opposed to just random movement
  • The app is meant to be mounted on an iPad in one of NYC’s private art galleries (true)
  • An entire sentence consisting of seriously desperate “Please, please, please” plea

All in a super polite, desperate, overly respectful manner.

Once form has been submitted a decision is promised in about a week. A day or so later, I get an email the app is

The status for the following app has changed to In Review.”

Hmm, I wasn’t sure what it meant when app gets this status without a new binary being uploaded. But apparently, this is Apple’s way of giving in to my desperate plea and app and an approval email followed shortly.

Tada! I have attempted to reason with iTunes folks and I have succeeded! A success story. I hope this can help you or at least keep you entertained for about 2 minutes.

0 thoughts on “Submitting an app to iTunes and getting rejected

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