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.