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Apple rejected iPad app for using pinch to expand gesture

post #1 of 192
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Apple refused to accept one iPad application to its App Store until the proprietary "pinch to expand" multi-touch gesture, which is found in Apple's own Photos application, was removed, a developer has told AppleInsider.

Scott Sykora and Eugene Kaneko are the creators of Web Albums HD (App Store, $2.99), an iPad application that accesses photos saved to Google's Picasa Web albums. The software was initially rejected from the App Store, Sykora said, because it employed the pinch to expand gesture to "peek" at photo albums, in the same manner as Apple's own native Photos application for the iPad.

Sykora said Apple's application programming interface in the iPhone OS software development kit does not provide a way to do the gesture, so he and Kaneko coded it themselves. The feature was even demonstrated in a promotional video the developers created for Web Albums HD through the iPad SDK.

"When we submitted it to Apple, we were stunned by their response," Sykora said. "Apparently the tap and pinch to expand is only for native Apple apps."

When the application was initially rejected from the App Store, Apple sent a letter to the developers noting that the pinch to expand feature is "associated solely with Apple applications." The form letter-like e-mail also mistakenly named another application, leading Sykora to assume that Web Albums HD is not the only software that has been rejected for its use of pinch to expand.

"After a few vague follow-up e-mails, we learned the 'update appropriately' meant removing the feature completely," he said. "We removed the pinch expand, leaving just the tap to expand. We were approved but ended up having an inferior product."



In addition, earlier this week, Instapaper and Tumblr developer Marco Arment noted that Apple's own App Store application, iBooks, relies on a number of private APIs not available to third-party software developers. He said his software cannot have a "true brightness control," even though it is featured in the iBooks application.

"This app's undocumented API use wouldn't pass the App Store submission process, yet developers need to compete with it for App Store attention," Arment wrote. "One of the great potential failures of an app-review system is inconsistent or unfair enforcement of the rules."

Criticism of the App Store and Apple's strict control of it has been a constant topic of scrutiny among developers, users and pundits alike. Last summer, stories of long delays and a lack of communication on Apple's part inspired Apple executive Phil Schiller to personally respond to some pundits and developers. The public moves were uncharacteristic of Apple, which is notorious for being a quiet, secretive company. But as bad publicity continued to grow, Schiller felt compelled to personally intervene.

Earlier this year, Apple streamlined its review process for the App Store, resulting in much faster turnaround times for developers. But the launch of the iPad has led to an influx of applications being submitted to the App Store, with developer interest nearly tripling after the product was announced in late January.

Sykora said he is hopeful that Apple can improve its approval process in the future to communicate better with developers such as himself when they are waiting for the App Store approval process.
post #2 of 192
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

In addition, earlier this week, Instapaper and Tumblr developer Marco Arment noted that Apple's own App Store application, iBooks, relies on a number of private APIs not available to third-party software developers. He said his software cannot have a "true brightness control," even though it is featured in the iBooks application.

Wasn't this one of the things Microsoft were getting in trouble for (the idea that there were hidden API's that things like Microsoft Office could use, but others couldn't). I might be wrong, but I thought that was part of the anti-trust ruling?

If I'm right, why are Apple allowed to get away with it?
post #3 of 192
"...employed the pinch to expand gesture to "peek" at photo albums..."

I think the objection has to do with what the gesture is used for, not that it is used. (Its hard to tell for sure from the article - it starts saying it is used for one thing then another then saying the letter said only Apple could use it. WTF?
post #4 of 192
This is a rare case where I actually side with the developer. Apple should *encourage* the use of consistent gestures to perform similar tasks throughout all apps running on the iDevices. It makes the platform better. This would be like saying "you can't use command-C to copy text -- that's only for Apple apps!"
post #5 of 192
Come on Apple, give these people a break...

I hope you do something about it.
post #6 of 192
Quote:
Originally Posted by PaulMJohnson View Post

Wasn't this one of the things Microsoft were getting in trouble for (the idea that there were hidden API's that things like Microsoft Office could use, but others couldn't). I might be wrong, but I thought that was part of the anti-trust ruling?

If I'm right, why are Apple allowed to get away with it?

Because Apple is not a monopolist, that's why. There is no market where Apple has as high of a marketshare as Microsoft has with Windows. Not even remotely close.

This is a common misunderstanding of anti-trust laws. Things that are illegal for monopolists can be perfectly legal for everyone else. The purpose of anti-trust law is not to mindlessly enforce some grade-school concept of "fairness". It's to mindfully enforce an econ grad-school concept of fairness.
post #7 of 192
It seems to me that there is more going on here that meets the printed page.

IMHO there are already several ways that already exist that would allow a suitable gesture.
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post #8 of 192
Just like before, the APIs are probably not ready for primetime, once Apple feels that the APIs are good and ready I'm sure they'll release them.
They may release them in 4.0, I don't believe Apple will keep them "private" for too long.
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post #9 of 192
Apple rejected iPad app for using pinch to expand gesture

So?

Perhaps the developer should have read the SDK.
post #10 of 192
This does seem odd that Apple would prevent developers from using a gesture that can only be used on iPhone, according to the patents they sent out to HTC. Seems very... childish to prevent any other developers from using a feature of the phone.

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post #11 of 192
Quote:
Originally Posted by bloggerblog View Post

Just like before, the APIs are probably not ready for primetime, once Apple feels that the APIs are good and ready I'm sure they'll release them.
They may release them in 4.0, I don't believe Apple will keep them "private" for too long.

That's not the issue. The developer didn't use the private API calls, they coded their own for achieving the same functionality. Apple blocked it based on the behavior being the same as what is associated with their own apps.
post #12 of 192
If you don't like the game and the rules, then don't play it!
post #13 of 192
Is this only the case for iPad apps? The Facebook iPhone app uses pinch to zoom for photos.
post #14 of 192
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

"This app's undocumented API use wouldn't pass the App Store submission process, yet developers need to compete with it for App Store attention," Arment wrote. "One of the great potential failures of an app-review system is inconsistent or unfair enforcement of the rules."

Apple does this with numerous applications in the App Store. It is however their platform - they are aware of limitations to the API that (we) developers may not be. They also often have plans to make an API available through some framework in a new version of the OS. This keeps everything working, and avoids most of the "me app broke when I updated the bleeding OS to 5.1".

There are several things that developers would like to have available via an API now (that we now how to call privately) but Apple's timeline is not always ours. In their defense every API they expose is something that ultimately ends up having to be supported. This does not come without expense - as an Apple Engineer you typically have the ability to go look at source and maybe talk to the Engineer(s) that authored the code (since the public documentation is not there) and maybe even have it modified for you need if you're lucky and it is not frozen. As a 3rd party developer you don't have this luxury and things would become much more fragile if Apple allowed everyone to call any private API they wanted. It also becomes a security issue since some these APIs have not been vetted for security.

I would like to have several things available now - but I will wait and file a report in Radar asking that it be made public (and asking for support from other 3rd parties in the forums for the same).
post #15 of 192
Quote:
Originally Posted by Quadra 610 View Post

Apple rejected iPad app for using pinch to expand gesture

So?

Perhaps the developer should have read the SDK.

yeah, what's shocking is that the developer was "shocked" by the rejection.
post #16 of 192
Quote:
Originally Posted by Blastdoor View Post

Because Apple is not a monopolist, that's why. There is no market where Apple has as high of a marketshare as Microsoft has with Windows. Not even remotely close.

This is a common misunderstanding of anti-trust laws. Things that are illegal for monopolists can be perfectly legal for everyone else. The purpose of anti-trust law is not to mindlessly enforce some grade-school concept of "fairness". It's to mindfully enforce an econ grad-school concept of fairness.

At what point do the anti-trust laws become relevant then? If they have 50% market share? 60%, 90%?

It all seems a little strange to me.
post #17 of 192
I don't know about you guys but I get pissed when I can't pinch or tap to zoom on any iPhone app. I want all apps to treat photos the same way for consistency. It what makes the iPhone great. I don't care if it is an apple app or not.
post #18 of 192
Quote:
Originally Posted by cmotl View Post

Is this only the case for iPad apps? The Facebook iPhone app uses pinch to zoom for photos.

I don't think that's the same API. This pinch to zoom as a preview option is making a quick look into a photo album. Pinch to zoom to change the scale of a picture is open to developers to use.
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post #19 of 192
Quote:
Originally Posted by Quadra 610 View Post

Apple rejected iPad app for using pinch to expand gesture

So?

Perhaps the developer should have read the SDK.

Perhaps you should read the article.

Seriously, they didn't use closed APIs, they coded the gesture recognition themselves.

I think it's a harsh decision and also agree with a previous poster that Apple should be encouraging consistent gestures in software.

In some ways though this doesn't make sense, because several games use multi-touch. I think it may have more to do with Picassa being a google gateway, and the ongoing lawsuits around multi-touch. That may complicate things.

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post #20 of 192
Quote:
Apple rejected iPad app for using pinch to expand gesture


Apple likely is trying to patent the idea or it's already patented and they are licensing it for use only with their products and software, not third party.
post #21 of 192
Gestures for apple apps only? WTF apple, your whole platform is famous for the ability to use intuitive gestures. It's not like these developers are making their own OS. They helping you and your ecosystem to be more consistent and easy to use, or to put it more boldly, they are allowing you to move more hardware. Cracking down on developers for making apps better is not the right idea.
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post #22 of 192
iBooks may not be using hidden Apis for brightness control since kindle app for the ipad also has it I beleive.
post #23 of 192
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleStud View Post

yeah, what's shocking is that the developer was "shocked" by the rejection.

The SDK terms of use do not have anything in there about "pinch to zoom" being only for Apple applications.

Likely Apple rejected it under the 7th prong, which basically states "We can reject your application for any reason we see fit". The other 6 prongs do not apply here, as the developer didn't do anything like use an undocumented API.

This is just another example of Apple being Appleapproving applications at whim, based on arbitrary rules.
post #24 of 192
Quote:
Originally Posted by Josh.B. View Post

The point is that the rules are changed mid-game in ways that are both arbitrary and unpredictable. This causes developers to waste huge amounts of time/money developing apps that fit the rules, but are nevertheless rejected.

Apple has lost several notable developer partners doing just that. It is not a simple "my way or the highway" situation. It is "my future way, which you cannot know" or the highway.

I am interested by this comment - which notable developer partners do you speak of ?
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post #25 of 192
You guys really need to calm down. Developers aren't allowed to use the private APIs because they aren't READY yet. Watch this 60 second video on Bertrand Serlet on using Apple's private API's: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jd97us27eSg

He explains everything.
post #26 of 192
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpotOn View Post

Apple likely is trying to patent the idea or it's already patented and they are licensing it for use only with their products and software, not third party.

I was just about to say the same thing. If Apple is paying a license fee for the use of a gesture, that license might not extend to third party apps.
post #27 of 192
Quote:
Originally Posted by stedwick View Post

You guys really need to calm down. Developers aren't allowed to use the private APIs because they aren't READY yet. Watch this 60 second video on Bertrand Serlet on using Apple's private API's: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jd97us27eSg

He explains everything.

Whilst I agree re the access to the brightness controls surely this does not apply to the case where they coded their own routine to mimic a user interface look & feel ?
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post #28 of 192
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpotOn View Post

Apple likely is trying to patent the idea or it's already patented and they are licensing it for use only with their products and software, not third party.

This is the reason for rejection, I believe. I don't think it has to do with APIs, I think it has to do with Apple's multitouch patents.
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post #29 of 192
If the developers had to write code to recreate the ability to do something (because they weren't allowed access to existing code), then shouldn't they have had a clue that it might be a problem.

I mean whether not allowing them to use the gesture is right or wrong on Apple's part, they still must have realized Apple didn't want them duplicating the function - otherwise Apple would have given developers access to it.
post #30 of 192
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mooso View Post

If the developers had to write code to recreate the ability to do something (because they weren't allowed access to existing code), then shouldn't they have had a clue that it might be a problem.

I mean whether not allowing them to use the gesture is right or wrong on Apple's part, they still must have realized Apple didn't want them duplicating the function - otherwise Apple would have given developers access to it.

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post #31 of 192
Quote:
Originally Posted by sheff View Post

...WTF apple, your whole platform is famous for the ability to use intuitive gestures. It's not like these developers are making their own...


It is no different than me deciding that I want to use cmd-Z for quit (instead of undo) or cmd-X to quit (instead of cut). The idea is to use a standard set of gestures for the same thing allowing a consistent user interface. If users are expected to use multi-touch successfully then there has to be a standard foundation not an ever changing foundation.

Consistency is why they had to detect and handle the gesture on their own - it is not meant to be overridden.

Take a look a Apple's HI Guidelines if you don't believe me. This is a big part of what made Apple's OS so successful on the Lisa, Mac, iPhone, Newton (oops, well no one is perfect). It is what they refer to as look and feel. This is why Windows apps (especially in the past) did not work - its like being in a pawn shop or flea market EVERYTHING is different just for the sake of being different.
post #32 of 192
Quote:
Originally Posted by Blastdoor View Post

This is a rare case where I actually side with the developer. Apple should *encourage* the use of consistent gestures to perform similar tasks throughout all apps running on the iDevices.

Look at it from the other side. those special gestures are what give Apple apps a potential edge. So of course they aren't going to let them go out.

Also, the API rule is known to all so why anyone would even try it is beyond me.

and frankly I don't see that this Picasa program is really inferior because you can only tap. It's a common and comfortable gesture for many
post #33 of 192
Quote:
Originally Posted by cmotl View Post

Is this only the case for iPad apps? The Facebook iPhone app uses pinch to zoom for photos.

they aren't talking about zooming a single item but the zoom flick gesture that has been highlighted on the ipad for opening and spreading out photos in an album
post #34 of 192
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zoolook View Post

Perhaps you should read the article.

Seriously, they didn't use closed APIs, they coded the gesture recognition themselves.

I think it's a harsh decision and also agree with a previous poster that Apple should be encouraging consistent gestures in software.

In some ways though this doesn't make sense, because several games use multi-touch. I think it may have more to do with Picassa being a google gateway, and the ongoing lawsuits around multi-touch. That may complicate things.

Quote:
Originally Posted by skittlebrau79 View Post

The SDK terms of use do not have anything in there about "pinch to zoom" being only for Apple applications.

Likely Apple rejected it under the 7th prong, which basically states "We can reject your application for any reason we see fit". The other 6 prongs do not apply here, as the developer didn't do anything like use an undocumented API.

This is just another example of Apple being Appleapproving applications at whim, based on arbitrary rules.

There is no mystery here. iPhone/iPad apps are not bring your own. You either develop with the built in APIs, or you don't develop. Given that the gesture was not part of the gesture library, it goes without saying that developing your own gesture is not an option. It also does not coincide with the Apple mandates that all apps conform to iPad standards, and not create their own types of gestures and interactions. Including the mimicing of built in features that are not part of the SDK.

Reading the SDK would prevent 99% of App Store rejections.
post #35 of 192
Quote:
Originally Posted by Quadra 610 View Post

Perhaps the developer should have read the SDK.

Does the SDK actually say that doing what they did is forbidden?
post #36 of 192
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpotOn View Post

Apple likely is trying to patent the idea or it's already patented and they are licensing it for use only with their products and software, not third party.

Apple purchased the entire multi-touch thing (Fingerworks), IP, patents and all and the fellow that did the original work is now an employee (last I heard).

They have some work to do with Elan Microelectronics but Apple's legal guys think it is theirs.
post #37 of 192
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mooso View Post

If the developers had to write code to recreate the ability to do something (because they weren't allowed access to existing code), then shouldn't they have had a clue that it might be a problem.

I mean whether not allowing them to use the gesture is right or wrong on Apple's part, they still must have realized Apple didn't want them duplicating the function - otherwise Apple would have given developers access to it.

Not really. The API's not being available could simply be because Apple's APIs are not yet ready for release. Nothing about that says it is then verboten to implement custom code to do the same thing.

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post #38 of 192
Quote:
Originally Posted by PaulMJohnson View Post

Wasn't this one of the things Microsoft were getting in trouble for (the idea that there were hidden API's that things like Microsoft Office could use, but others couldn't). I might be wrong, but I thought that was part of the anti-trust ruling?

If I'm right, why are Apple allowed to get away with it?

People's understanding of the Microsoft antitrust lawsuit is pretty all over the place.

It's actually for Microsoft abusing their monopoly to push other Microsoft products with windows. Which came the argument that Internet Explorer is not a separate product but an integral part of Windows.

And I think later on came other accusations like Microsoft penalizing PC makers for shipping PC with anything but windows.
post #39 of 192
Quote:
Originally Posted by Josh.B. View Post

I had in mind the fiasco which was precipitated by the rejection of Google Voice apps. My recollection is that several prominent developers jumped ship. I'll take a quick look and see what I come up with for background info...here's a couple:

"Rogue Amoeba no longer has any plans for additional iPhone applications, and updates to our existing iPhone applications will likely be rare," said Kafasis. "The iPhone platform had great promise, but that promise is not enough,"

http://www.pcworld.com/article/16922..._look_bad.html

"My decision to stop iPhone development has had everything to do with Apples policies. Joe Hewitt"

http://techcrunch.com/2009/11/11/joe...s-the-project/

Ah yes I remember now. In terms of the bigger picture though a couple of developers jumping ship is neither here nor there - I wouldn't be surprised to see them quietly returning to the fold now the iPad is here.

Regardless of how oppressive they find the App approval process at the end of the day as long as you go into the development process understanding this is part and parcel of the package then surely it's better to be on the inside of this growing market then on the outside ?
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post #40 of 192
Quote:
Originally Posted by minderbinder View Post

Does the SDK actually say that doing what they did is forbidden?

Quote:
Originally Posted by stedwick View Post

You guys really need to calm down. Developers aren't allowed to use the private APIs because they aren't READY yet.

Please read the article. They did NOT use a private API, they coded the feature themselves.
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