Rogue Amoeba’s Airfoil Speakers Touch App Yanked Because It Duplicates Functionality In iOS 6? [Updated]

Rogue Amoeba’s Airfoil Speakers Touch App Yanked Because It Duplicates Functionality In iOS 6? [Updated]

Airfoil Speakers Touch has been yanked from the App Store. Why? Only Apple knows for sure.

Update: According to our tipster, Airfoil Speakers Touch wasn’t yanked arbitrarily, but instead because it duplicates functionality in the still unreleased and officially unannounced iOS 6. Our source says that in iOS 6, an Apple TV, for example, can pipe sound from a movie to an iPod touch, iPhone or iPad, and any iOS device will be able to beam audio to another. We’re trying to get more details, and have reached out to Apple and Rogue Amoeba for comment. Original post is below.

Update: 2: We’ve added Rogue Amoeba’s official comment at the bottom of this post.

Rogue Amoeba are some of the good guys. They’ve released some of the Mac’s coolest audio apps, including Airfoil, Audio Hijack Pro, Piezo, Pulsar, Nicecast and Fission, and we’ve long been a fan of their version of Airfoil for iOS. Called Airfoil Speakers Touch, the app allowed you to stream audio over AirPlay from your Mac, PC or iDevice to any iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch. We’ve been rocking it since 2009.

Now Airfoil Speakers Touch is dead, killed for unspecified reasons by Apple’s App Store review team while the guys at Rogue Amoeba scratch their heads.

Writing on the company blog, Rogue Amoeba’s Paul Kafasis writes:

Since 2009, Airfoil Speakers Touch has made it possible to send audio from your Mac or Windows machine to your iPhone, iPod Touch, or iPad, using Airfoil and its audio streaming capability. Last month, we introduced Airfoil Speakers Touch 3, which added the ability to receive audio directly from other iOS devices, as well as iTunes. Users and reviewers alike have loved Airfoil Speakers Touch, particularly the new version. For our part, we’ve been thrilled to be able to provide this much-desired functionality.

Today, we’ve been informed that Apple has removed Airfoil Speakers Touch from the iOS App Store.1 We first heard from Apple about this decision two days ago, and we’ve been discussing the pending removal with them since then. However, we still do not yet have a clear answer on why Apple has chosen to remove Airfoil Speakers Touch. Needless to say, we’re quite disappointed with their decision, and we’re working hard to once again make the application available for you, our users.

As far as we can tell, Airfoil Speakers Touch is in full compliance with Apple’s posted rules and developer agreements. We’ve already filed an appeal with Apple’s App Review Board, and we’re awaiting further information. Unfortunately, Apple has full control of application distribution on iOS, leaving us with no other recourse here.

Is this justice?!? Attica! Attica! Attica!

It seems like a pretty arbitrary and unfair move on Apple’s part, but as Kafasis notes, it’s possible that this is just the strange whim of some gray, nameless cog in the App Store Review team. In fact, Airfoil Speakers Touch has been rejected from the App Store for fairly arbitrary reasons before, only to be let back in when Rogue Amoeba posted about it. Let’s hope something similar happens here, eh?

Either way, it really highlights one of the unavoidable problems of the App Store. You might do great work, you might play by all the rules, but Apple has no problem changing the rules on you and never telling you what you can do to make it all better.

Update: Rogue Amoeba has responded to our request for comment:

“We’ve seen that theory floated by a few folks as a wild guess, but there’s certainly no hard evidence that iOS 6 will contain audio receiving functionality. Anything’s possible, but I can’t say it seems likely that iOS 6 will turn iOS devices into AirPlay receivers.

Even if that is the case, however, iOS 6 isn’t here yet nor even announced. The timing on pulling Airfoil Speakers Touch now, a month after it was approved but before iOS 6 has even been made public, seems to make little sense with regards to this possibility. It’s certainly not something Apple has done before.”

  • InternDom

    CYDIA?

  • chakravyu

    It was just a matter of time. It’s a brilliant app. Luckily I grabbed it a few weeks back.

  • Sean Smith

    I like Apple but absolutely hate them when they do crap like this. So what if it duplicates functionality in a product you haven’t even released yet? This reminds me of when they kicked Camera+ out of the App Store temporarily because of the hidden “volume up shutter button” functionality because it was “confusing” and then lo-and-behold the exact same feature ends up in the official Camera app in iOS 5.

  • mr_bee

    I like Apple but absolutely hate them when they do crap like this. So what if it duplicates functionality in a product you haven’t even released yet? This reminds me of when they kicked Camera+ out of the App Store temporarily because of the hidden “volume up shutter button” functionality because it was “confusing” and then lo-and-behold the exact same feature ends up in the official Camera app in iOS 5.

    You’re misrepresenting things a bit here.  They banned the app for the reason stated, but there was a long pause between that action and them adding the same functionality themselves.  Also, they re-instated the app and the functionality afterwards. 

    In that case at least, there is no reason to believe that anything apple said or did was false or self-serving.  
  • binkleybloom

    If this is what we have in store for us in the OS X App Store, then I want NOTHING to do with it!

    y’know what? Functionality SHOULD be able to be duplicated! I’m getting very sick of Apple’s approach these days – it seems like the large the slice of a pie a company has, the more they want.

    Keep it up, Apple – I’ve been using your product faithfully since 1990. Ubuntu looks better and better all the time.

  • technochick

    So where the update admitting that your tipster was totally wrong and in fact it was pulled because of unauthorized use of a private API in violation of the developer rules

  • technochick

    So where the update admitting that your tipster was totally wrong and in fact it was pulled because of unauthorized use of a private API in violation of the developer rules

About the author

John BrownleeJohn Brownlee is a Contributing Editor. He has also written for Wired, Playboy, Boing Boing, Popular Mechanics, VentureBeat, and Gizmodo. He lives in Boston with his wife and two parakeets. You can follow him here on Twitter.

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