Apple Drags Its Feet On Innovative Phone App

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Among the more interesting things I’ve come across so far at Macworld is an innovative calling application from Freedom Voice, called Newber. Somewhat similar, but with a couple of key differences to Grand Central, Newber lets you route every phone call made to you though a single number and, using GPS location awareness, lets you take the call on any phone that happens to be nearby.

If you’re in the office at your desk, Newber will send calls to your work phone. At home it can ring the house phone. On the road Newber will ring your iPhone, the phone extension in your hotel room, even the payphone at the gas station in the middle of nowhere where you’re getting a flat fixed – if that’s where you want it to ring. Your callers have one number for you and you can receive their calls anywhere.

I saw the app in a demo at a press event on Monday night and spoke further yesterday with David Gerzof, president of Bigfish Communications, the PR firm representing Newber, about the difficulty Freedom Voice has had getting the Newber app approved for distribution in the AppStore. “Newber was submitted in October and Apple authorized the product manager to contact them by phone, which he does every day,” Gerzof told me. “They haven’t said it will be approved or that it won’t be approved, in fact we can’t see from our activity logs where they have even begun testing it. It’s very frustrating.”

As a result, despite having already put several hundred thousand dollars into developing the platform for iPhone, Gerzof and Newber aren’t putting all their eggs in Apple’s basket. A Demo application for Blackberry is already operating and the company is also working on one for Android. “We love Apple and began work first with the iPhone SDK because we wanted it to be the launch platform, but if they aren’t interested, we have to move forward with the others,” Gerzof says.

10 responses to “Apple Drags Its Feet On Innovative Phone App”

  1. AndyM says:

    WOW, what a cool app. That is so FRUSTRATING that they are having such a hard time getting this through to the App store while there are thousands of other apps which are crap. Farting apps… hello?!?

  2. firesign says:

    the 8 gazillion fart apps and crappy phone dialers and apps that meow like a cat are what, i suspect, are keeping cool apps like this from getting to the apps store. i can’t imagine having to wade through all that nonsense.

  3. johnkoetsier says:

    This is a major problem – Apple needs to improve the approvals process.

    Otherwise, how can developers invest time and money in something that may not even be able to go onto the App store? Answer: they’ll play it safe with less innovative applications.

    http://sparkplug9.com/2009/01/

  4. Camperton says:

    Apples attitude towards truly useful and groundgreaking apps for their phone is in a word – depressing.

  5. alex says:

    It will not get published, I’m pretty sure it would piss off AT&T, if the Iphone had a way of circumventing the requirement to purchase a 2nd line at normal rates… This is a sticky app for Apple to approve, and I believe they will put it off until the publicity dies down, then quietly put it to bed…