Apple: Make a desktop, your iPad app is toast

Groundhog Software's MyFrame was removed from the App Store for being too desktop-ey. What's next, Apple kills off birds from its campus that wet their nests?

Groundhog Software's MyFrame was removed from the App Store for being too desktop-ey. What's next, Apple kills off birds which live on its campus that wet their nests?

In recent months I've gone as far to compare Apple and its behavior to North Korean Juche. Apple, I apologize.

Kim Jong-Il is too reasonable. Not outrageous enough. Apple, you're more like a Monty Python skit.

Specifically, I'm referring to the Monty Python skit where an insane, completely unhinged customer enters a book shop and asks for all sorts of crazy titles that aren't in print. Finally, when the shopkeeper does find a book the customer wants...

Customer: I saw it over there: "Olsen's Standard Book of British Birds".

Shopkeeper: (pause; trying to stay calm) "Olsen's Standard Book of British Birds"?

Customer: Yes...

Shopkeeper: O-L-S-E-N?

Customer: Yes....

Shopkeeper: B-I-R-D-S??

Customer: Yes.....

Shopkeeper: (beat) Yes, well, we do have that, as a matter of fact....

Customer: The expurgated version....

Shopkeeper: (pause; politely) I'm sorry, I didn't quite catch that...?

Customer: The expurgated version.

Shopkeeper: (exploding) The EXPURGATED version of "Olsen's Standard Book of British Birds"?!?!?!?!?

Customer: (desperately) The one without the gannet!

Shopkeeper: The one without the gannet-!!! They've ALL got the gannet!! It's a Standard British Bird, the gannet, it's in all the books!!!

Customer: (insistent) Well, I don't like them...they wet their nests. Shopkeeper: (furious) All right! I'll remove it!! (rrrip!) Any other birds you don't like?!

Customer: I don't like the robin...

Shopkeeper: (screaming) The robin! Right! The robin! (rrrip!) There you are, any others you don't like, any others?

Customer: The nuthatch?

Shopkeeper: Right! (flipping through the book) The nuthatch, the nuthatch, the nuthatch, 'ere we are! (rrriiip!) There you are! NO gannets, NO robins, NO nuthatches, THERE's your book!

Customer: (indignant) I can't buy that! It's torn!

Shopkeeper: (incoherent noise)

So where am I going with this? Apple is a company who as a developer you just can't please, even if you try to do everything right.

First there's the list of checklists. No bad language! Check. No PORN! Check. No using undocumented APIs! Check. No use of non-native software interfaces, frameworks and libraries! Check. Do not copy existing functionality! Check.

Do not make your App look like a Desktop with widgets! Uhhhhhhhhmm... Check?

Yeah I think Apple just hit its Ethel the Aardvark Goes Quantity Surveying moment.

Enter Groundhog Software, an Australian iPhone and iPad developer that just had their application, MyFrame, removed from the App Store.

I'd call this extreme irony, considering the company has been a stalwart supporter of Apple's stringent application approval processes.

MyFrame was a picture frame application, one of the many that tried to distinguish itself from the myriad of others on the App Store that you can download and pay for.

Instead of just rotating your photos, MyFrame could also display useful widgets which overlay the picture, such as the time of day and date, the weather, Twitter feeds and reminder notes.

Hell, it's an app that I might have even considered buying.

What was MyFrame's crime which caused it to be yanked from the App Store? Well apparently, Apple doesn't like applications that have widgets or look like a desktop. In other words, it wets its nest.

So a software developer tries to do everything and play by the rules, even gets its application accepted into the App Store, only to find it then yanked because suddenly Apple doesn't like applications that can display more than one thing on the screen at once? What?

I don't get it. I really don't.

Look, I love my iPad. Hell, I adore the thing. I'm practically a fanboi now.

But this is yet another example of Apple cutting off its nose to spite its face. I understand Steve Jobs and his love for simple, elegant interfaces, but this is going a bit too far. Dictating what apps can and can't look like stifles developer creativity and WILL push them towards other platforms.

Has Apple joined the Ministry of Silly Walks? Talk Back and Let Me Know.


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