Should Apple Be Rejecting All Apps About Steve Jobs?

Should Apple Be Rejecting All Apps About Steve Jobs?

Steve Jobs Timeline for iOS — rejected.

Apple’s App Store review policy has received a lot of criticism in the past. Often times it rejects apps for a good reason, like if they contain nudity or they’re offensive. But on the odd occasion, its decision to reject a certain app leaves us puzzled. Here’s a good example of that.

Nuskha Labs recently submitted its new app to the App Store. Called Steve Jobs Timeline, it documents the life story of Apple’s co-founder, and includes famous quotes and images. It sports a nice, creative user interface; it’s not offensive, and it doesn’t break Apple’s App Store terms. But the Cupertino company rejected it anyway.

AppAdvice explains that Steve Jobs Timeline features “a retelling of Jobs’ life through the use of what looks like a sun setting over the horizon.” There are 23 rays of sunshine, each of which represent a key moment in Jobs’s life, such as the founding of Apple Computer, or when he stepped down as CEO.

When you tap on one, it provides “a look at the event through the use of simple, yet concise, words against the backdrop of haunting music.”

From the screenshots, it looks like a nice app. But Apple decided to reject it. Why? Because the company has chosen to honor Jobs’s life in other ways, it says, and so it’s rejecting apps that honor it in another way.

Here’s what Apple’s email to Nuskha Labs said:

Thank you for submitting your app commemorating Steve Jobs.

We appreciate your efforts honoring Steve. However, we’ve decided to honor his life in other ways and we are no longer accepting Steve Jobs apps.

You can use the Ad Hoc distribution method to share your app with your friends and family. You can find more information in the iOS Developer Program guide.

The folks at Nuskha Labs were actually expecting their app to be turned away, but that didn’t stop them putting a lot of time and effort into creating it. In a statement on their website, they explain why they decided to create the app:

Steve Jobs has been a long time inspiration to us. We started thinking how best we can give tribute to Steve’s life and work. We set out to create an iPad App (Steve Jobs Timeline ) which captures most important events of Steve’s life, work and entrepreneur journey. We challenged our limits and created something very unique and amazing. Hope you would love the application as much we love.

While Nuskha Labs may have been expecting this, I’m sure it doesn’t make the rejection any easier to accept. They’ve clearly put a lot of work into the app, and Apple’s reason for rejecting it just doesn’t seem right to me. The Cupertino company may have chosen to honor Jobs’s life “in other ways,” but why should that prevent others from honoring him in their way?

As AppAdvice notes, it’s understandable that Apple would want to “keep hold of Jobs’ image and make sure that it isn’t altered in any way.” And I completely agree with that.

But the company has a stringent review process when it comes to iOS apps, so would it be so difficult to separate the bad from the good? Could it not reject all the inappropriate apps and accept harmless ones like this? Why should all tribute apps be banned?

If you’d like to take a look at Steve Jobs Timeline, check out Nuskha’s website — they have a limited number of copies available that can be installed via an ad-hoc solution. And be sure to let us know your thoughts on this in the comments; I’d like to know what you think.

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  • mr_bee

    This is a nonsensical statement:

    “Often times it rejects apps for a good reason, like if they contain *nudity* …”

    What exactly is the “good reason” for rejecting apps that happen to have nudity in them? You say yourself (in the same sentence) that nudity isn’t necessarily offensive. It isn’t necessarily anything to do with sex either.

  • arneolav

    Why on earth would you agree with Apple keeping “hold of Jobs’ image and make sure that it isn’t altered in any way?” In principle, that would mean that no criticism of Apple that can be traced back to Jobs’ ideas and work could come via an app, as this would alter the image of Jobs Apple likes to maintain. As more and more info seem to be channelled via apps, this is ultimately a problem for democracy. Surely, you don’t have to be European to see that? ;)

  • Jolejniczak

    Seems to me they can do whatever they want in their app store. Don’t like it? Go somewhere else.

  • technochick

    While not spelled out it is possible that Steve, with his wife’s approval, granted Apple full rights to exploit his name, image etc for commercial gain (even ‘commercial’ that is free). This is not uncommon in California which has very strict life/image use laws.

    And in keeping with those rights and to insure that they aren’t diluted in any way they are making a blanket rejection of all apps rather than get into debates about what is a good app, a bad app, licensing to use said rights etc.

  • technochick

    Seems to me they can do whatever they want in their app store. Don’t like it? Go somewhere else.

    This is 100% true. But many choose to call it censorship and Apple Nazi’s etc.

  • nuskhalabs

    We respect Apple’s decision. Although they should relax the terms for an App Approval!

  • nuskhalabs

    We respect Apple’s decision. Although they should relax the terms for an App Approval!

  • hanhothi

    To answer the question Killian raised, yes. Jobs is dead already. Let’s forget him and move on.

About the author

Killian BellKillian Bell is a staff writer based in the U.K. He has an interest in all things tech and also covers Android over at CultofAndroid.com. You can follow him on Twitter via @killianbell.

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