Apple: Make a desktop, your iPad app is toast

Apple: Make a desktop, your iPad app is toast

Summary: 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?

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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.

Topics: iPad, Apple, Hardware, Mobility

About

Jason Perlow, Sr. Technology Editor at ZDNet, is a technologist with over two decades of experience integrating large heterogeneous multi-vendor computing environments in Fortune 500 companies. Jason is currently a Partner Technology Strategist with Microsoft Corp. His expressed views do not necessarily represent those of his employer.

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Talkback

129 comments
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  • Let me get the story straight...

    Apple accepted it, the app was distributed for a while, and then out of the blue, suddenly, the app was gone? Poof? Apple just deleted it?

    Wow.

    Just.

    Wow.

    In another blog today, Zack spoke about how the iPad was the breeding ground for the next generation of developer. I feel very, very, [b]very[/b] sorry for the next generation of developer who will not have [b]any[/b] control over the applications they develop. Welcome to 1984. Welcome to Big Brother. Welcome to Apple.
    NonZealot
    • Not the first time

      @NonZealot: This happened with GV Mobile, and even the porn apps. They were accepted. They were distributed. And then, they got pulled because some unrelated bird, somewhere decided to wet its nest.

      In the case of GV Mobile, it was because Google decided to continue the development of the phone OS. (Sorry Steve, but if you look at a timeline, you encroached on Google's turf; Android predates iPhone by several years).

      In the case of porn apps, well, I don't know why he decided to pull porn apps. (I refuse to believe it's because Steve suddenly grew a conscious. But then, in other news, hell might have just frozen over.)

      It's not like Apple just decided to join the Ministry of Silly Walks, as near as I can tell, they were one of the charter members. And since Steve's handlers have let him near mass communications technologies, they've apparently made a bid for membership in the Brotherhood of Fecal Throwing Simians as well.
      Rob Oakes
      • Silly Acts, and Hell Freezing Over

        @Rob Oakes: Too late in the year for Hell to freeze over, even if it is in Michigan.<br><br>A talent agent is sitting in his office. Steve Jobs and his handlers come in. The talent agent asks "What kind of an act do you have?" Steve says "We are a consumer goods company, and don't care about developers or enterprise IT!!" The talent agent says "Well, show me what you've got."<br><br>... much later ...<br>The talent agent says "That's a very interesting act, what do you call it?"<br><br>Steve Jobs "The Aristocrats!!"
        Too Old For IT
      • RE: Apple: Make a desktop, your iPad app is toast

        @Rob Oakes Job$ is in bed with the right wing prudes at Disney and has become one of them.
        eddzpc@...
      • RE: Apple: Make a desktop, your iPad app is toast

        @Rob Oakes: I fully agree that this is just getting out of hand. I love my Apple products. They are well made and easy to use. But this App approval thing is getting ridiculous.

        I understand some of it. I even get why porn apps are not acceptable. It is not because porn is bad, but because the number of children carrying iPod Touches, iPhones and soon iPads calls for a little modesty. I honestly believe that we will see an "adult only" area of the App Store with tighter controls in the future. But right now, Apple is too concerned with image. And a few kids "accidentally" buying porn from Apple would just be bad. Safari can still access it, sure. But that falls under the umbrella of you went out and found someone else content...we did not sell it to you.

        I hope Apple feels some heat from these random rejections and removals. I hate to see otherwise nice apps stifled because of some obscure fine print that says it can be nixed "if we just don't like it". I like Apple and do not want this to be part of their legacy. Pull your head out guys!
        tmhale13
    • I can not wait

      It will be good once the ipad has been jailbroken and you can get real apps for it. As it is now I have a$700 kendle
      rparker009
      • RE: Apple: Make a desktop, your iPad app is toast

        @rparker009 yea, ya can't really argue, despite cost, apple makes good hardware. Looking at refurbished costs, the iPhone is the cheapest per-spec smartphone you can buy. And the OS isn't all that bad once you give it a little breathing room.
        shadfurman
    • I am Shocked!

      Just completely shocked! Just shocked! Shocked! And Wowed too! Awed as well! Shock and awed! Wow.
      CowLauncher
      • Hope and Change

        @CowLauncher: Maybe if we all Hope that Steve jobs will see the light, there will be Change!
        Too Old For IT
      • Well,

        @CowLauncher, I never used any porn program anyway. I wouldn't. Honest. <br>Never.<br>N-n-n-upe. Not no way, not no how.<br>(besides, the video is sh**ty).
        Papa_Bill
    • RE: Apple: Make a desktop, your iPad app is toast

      @NonZealot isn't it IRONIC that it was Apple that came out with the 1984 commercial for the original Mac? And now... look at things. It's even worse that being enslaved to the PC.
      ckl_88
    • RE: Apple: Make a desktop, your iPad app is toast

      Sounds like Apple is becoming a lot like the MPAA with its app store. MPAA does the exact same crap with small movie companies. Just ask Matt Stone and Tray Parker...

      "Orgasmo has been rated NC-17."
      "Well, what specifically about the movie warrants an NC-17 rating? What do we need to change to get it to an R?"
      "We can't tell you. You'll have to figure it out yourself."
      WarhavenSC
    • ZDnet did the same thing to my post

      It was here, visible for a while, then marked as SPAM, then gone!

      I am now marked for life as Homo Spamiens

      ;-)
      Indulis
      • RE: Apple: Make a desktop, your iPad app is toast

        @Indulis The same happened to me. ZDNet comment system allows any one to flag your comment as spam among other options, & then deleted.
        NaderBelaid
  • Im shocked, shocked I tell you, to find that you or anyone else

    would be the least bit surprised to find this happening. C'mon this is apple we're talking about...
    Johnny Vegas
  • RE: Apple: Make a desktop, your iPad app is toast

    [i]All we got out of him was that Apple no longer liked ?widgets? and wanted all widget apps removed[/i]

    ROFL... First Flash, now "Widgets"... can't wait to see what's next!
    Badgered
    • jQuery enhanced websites could also be banned from Apple's sanitized web

      @Badgered

      I heartily expect that in the future, Safari running on the iPad will ban all websites that use those annoying jQuery plugins like the accordion plugin and similar flash-like crap.
      OS Reload
    • So does this mean

      that dashboard is going away in OS X? Since, well, you know, it's all widgets...
      nix_hed
      • No, no...

        @nix_hed
        Those are all Apple Fritters
        Papa_Bill
  • RE: Apple: Make a desktop, your iPad app is toast

    What makes it worse is that Apple can't even give the developer a specific reason for removal nor how it can be "fixed"!

    And apparently rolling it back to the previously "approved" version is not an option either.

    Wow.
    rhonin