High Profile Developers Abandoning the iPhone

Shortly after Apple enabled status tracking for iPhone application approval, a couple of high profile developers left the platform.

Developer of Facebook for the iPhone, Joe Hewitt speaking with TechCrunch:

My decision to stop iPhone development has had everything to do with Apple’s policies. I respect their right to manage their platform however they want, however I am philosophically opposed to the existence of their review process.

It’s ironic that Hewitt works for Facebook, which happens to be one of the biggest walled gardens around, but his opinion is still valid.

The second developer is actually Rogue Amoeba, a software company that makes several popular Mac applications. Rogue Amoeba introduced Airfoil Speakers Touch 7 months ago, I’ve used the app since then and it has become one of my essential applications.

It turns out that version 1.0.1 of Airfoil Speakers Touch had been submitted to Apple back in July. Between then and its eventual approval, almost four months and three rejections took place. Apple rejected the application due to the use of “Apple Logo and Apple-owned Graphic Symbols,” referring to the icons used and picture of the Mac that audio was streaming from. The application itself didn’t contain pictures of Apple computers or images of the icons, instead that information was sent over the network from the computer and simply displayed in Airfoil Speakers Touch.

To get the application approved Rogue Amoeba had to do the following:

Now, when you receive audio on Airfoil Speakers Touch, you’ll see a generic computer screen, not your specific Mac. Further, if you’re receiving audio from an Apple app, such as Safari, QuickTime Player, or iTunes, you’ll see this:

Airfoil Speakers Touch - EFF

If you tap the artwork in Airfoil Speakers Touch, you’ll be taken to this page, providing a pithier summary of the situation. Is it likely to change anything? Probably not. But it was the only way we could remove this functionality and still sleep at night.

This clearly isn’t the best design choice, but what were they supposed to do, they had to ship the bug fix. Currently, Rogue Amoeba has no plans to develop additional iPhone applications, and who can blame them?

Update 11/24/09: Version 1.0.2 of Airfoil Speakers Touch restores the icons that Apple rejected the application over.

Update 11/26/09: BusinessWeek’s Interview with Phil Schiller