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Popular iPhone camera app pulled over "Easter egg" shutter button

post #1 of 186
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Camera+, a popular iPhone application, was pulled from the App Store after it violated Apple's developer agreement terms and secretly allowed users to use a physical volume control button as a shutter button to take pictures.

Earlier this week, before the app was completely removed from the App Store, developer tap tap tap said that they had previously attempted to add the ability to use volume controls to snap photos to their application Camera+. Apple rejected the feature, dubbed "VolumeSnap," because it uses the volume buttons in a "non-standard way, potentially resulting in user confusing," the company said.

"While we're disappointed with their decision, we're at least happy that they're being perfectly clear about the exact reason for the rejection and that they're being consistent about it," the developer said. "I was told that overriding the volume controls is one of the most common reasons for app rejection."

Tap tap tap has remained silent, however, since Camera+ was removed from the App Store this week.

Apple yanked the software after the company, via Twitter, informed users how to enable the volume shutter button feature via a workaround. The feature could be enabled by entering a URL into the Mobile Safari browser on the iPhone. The offending post on Twitter has since been removed.

The company's official blog was last updated on Tuesday, touting strong sales of the Camera+ application. In its first month, the photography app earned $253,000 in sales, and sales increased in the second month to $254,000.



"So after two short months in the App Store, Camera+ has pulled in a whopping half a million dollars," wrote John Casasanta, head of tap tap tap and creator of the MacHeist promotion. "Needless to say, we couldn't be more pleased."

This isn't the first time that Apple has had to remove an application from the App Store that included a hidden "Easter Egg" allowing functionality that was not publicized. Last month the company removed an application that presented itself as a flashlight app, but it also included a hidden SOCKS proxy that could be used for tethering a 3G data connection.
post #2 of 186
These arrogant customers must be stopped from using their product and having fun.
post #3 of 186
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

This isn't the first time that Apple has had to remove an application


'had to'? 'chosen to' would be more like it.


Come on Android!, come on!
post #4 of 186
Quote:
Originally Posted by bwik View Post

These arrogant customers must be stopped from using their product and having fun.

Didn't you know that using a device in a non-standard way, violates the first law of 'think different'?
post #5 of 186
Quote:
Originally Posted by cnocbui View Post

'had to'? 'chosen to' would be more like it.

No, there was a rule about this sort of thing and Apple has a big warning about such easier Eggs. Unless Apple wants to send messages that their rules don't mean anything, they have to apply them.
post #6 of 186
Why the giant advertisement for "Camera+"???

What does that picture add to the article? Nothing.
What about that picture is referenced in the article? Nothing.

Camera+ is just one of many many camera apps. It's not even one of the best liked ones. They did this entire thing just for a round of free publicity and Apple Insider is not only happy to write about it, they put a giant advertisement for the product in the middle of the article.

Your even promoting this deceitful nonsense by pointing out how much money these guys made by scamming the app store and screwing over their customers.

AppleInsider is seriously going downhill IMO.
post #7 of 186
I agree, not allowing the use of volume buttons for other purposes is rule that does real harm: it’s something you can’t do!

Let us remember, however, that this rule ALSO has benefits, and not pretend it’s a one-sided move of pure evil. The positive: the volume buttons on your device always work I think it’s a rule that does more harm than good. And Android has rules too, much as people like to think otherwise. If you want pure anarchy, you’re going to have to hack something—an iPhone or otherwise.

(Also, why would I want a clicky button that makes the camera jerk and blur, when the current soft-tap shutter makes my iPhone a more stable and sharp camera than my “real” camera? To each his own, of course. This is a good example to use when asking, “exactly what is it that Apple won’t allow that you need to have Android for?” If a small UI function like this is important to you, then it’s good that the Android choice exists. You will, however, find OTHER problems with camera operation and general UI on Android—there’s no free lunch )

I do like the apps (which Apple DOES allow) that give you a full-screen shutter button for tapping without having to look. It’s a good idea—although I manage to “feel” the existing shutter button pretty well anyway—it’s right above the physical Home button.
post #8 of 186
I understand both sides of the argument. You don't want developers willy-nilly remapping the use of buttons that are used for other things. On the other hand it is nice to have a button (or two) that are re-definable. HP did this on there early computers for quite a while and it was a nice feature (in its day). User interface design has moved on though and I think the Apple model is they way to go.

Apple has shown with its GUI (say as opposed to Windows) that consistency in user experience is very valuable. It is one big reason that the Mac has been so successful. I would have to side with Apple on this (although they will do as they please either way ).
post #9 of 186
That's really anal. I use a patch on my Pre Plus that does the same thing (map the shutter to the volume buttons), because I hate tapping the shutter icon on the screen, as it makes it awkward to hold.
post #10 of 186
Off topic, but I’ve been wanting Apple to make the toggle switch above the volume buttons also function as a pressable button. The current method of using voice controls or taking a snapshot would be much easier if that were a button as it would be easily used by the right index finger. Maybe it’s too difficult to be viable, but this is the one HW feature I think would make my iPhone much easier to use.
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post #11 of 186
Quote:
Originally Posted by nagromme View Post

I agree, not allowing the use of volume buttons for other purposes is rule that does real harm: it’s something you can’t do!

...I think it’s a rule that does more harm than good...

I am quite interested in the harm that you see from this.

As you might notice from my previous post I think that allowing reassignment of the buttons is a mistake and agree with Apple but I gotta ask: Just exactly what is this harm?
post #12 of 186
Quote:
Originally Posted by Prof. Peabody View Post

Camera+ is just one of many many camera apps. It's not even one of the best liked ones. They did this entire thing just for a round of free publicity and Apple Insider is not only happy to write about it, they put a giant advertisement for the product in the middle of the article.

As far as I'm concerned Camera+ is absolute trash. It has some fair features (some gimmicky) but eye-candy and whatnot nearly always wins out over actual photography (i.e. a clean workflow). You can't even get the app to open in a photo-ready mode (except through that stupid gimmicky viewport) unless you've already opened it. Not something for people thinking from a photographer's angle.

I regret buying it. Fortunately I didn't pay much at all.

Cool icon, though.

Sidenote: I do see where Apple's coming from on this.
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post #13 of 186
Those volume buttons would be great for a shutter. Especially compared to what we have now.

Who thinks it will happen in the native camera app??
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post #14 of 186
Quote:
Originally Posted by Prof. Peabody View Post

Why the giant advertisement for "Camera+"???

What does that picture add to the article? Nothing.
What about that picture is referenced in the article? Nothing.

Camera+ is just one of many many camera apps. It's not even one of the best liked ones. They did this entire thing just for a round of free publicity and Apple Insider is not only happy to write about it, they put a giant advertisement for the product in the middle of the article.

Your even promoting this deceitful nonsense by pointing out how much money these guys made by scamming the app store and screwing over their customers.

AppleInsider is seriously going downhill IMO.

So which of Camera+'s competing apps did you write?

-kpluck

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post #15 of 186
No shock that they pulled it, but I admire this company for what they did.

Seems to be in the hacker spirit that Apple was initially based on......
post #16 of 186
Great app, glad I nabbed it. The function can now be enabled by visiting a URL.
post #17 of 186
There's been several solutions to accomplish these for a long time via jailbreak. And one and one install works for all the camera apps across the board. Thank you Apple for once again justifying a Jailbreak.

Also what's going down in regards to these forums are the I.Q.'s. Full of alarmist people who seem to falling off the turnip trucks 50 times to Sunday. Gimme a break. When did Apple users start becoming so moronic. What a shame.
post #18 of 186
The harm, especially now with multi-tasking is that when I want to change my volume I expect the volume buttons to work. If I'm listening to music and go to take a picture I don't want to keep track of what applications have remapped whatever buttons ad hoc.

The numbnuts are the devs who raked in half a mil in two months, were told previously not to do it and yet went ahead and publicized it anyway. Would or do you raise your kids that way? And now they're losing $850-ish everyday. Someone there needs to take a basic business class or get themselves a real Product Manager.
post #19 of 186
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

Apple yanked the software after the company, via Twitter, informed users how to enable the volume shutter button feature via a workaround. The feature could be enabled by entering a URL into the Mobile Safari browser on the iPhone. The offending post on Twitter has since been removed.

Whoa! I don't have this app, but can someone explain how entering a URL in a browser can change the functionality of a real button on the phone? Is this something to be worried about?
post #20 of 186
Quote:
Originally Posted by JupiterOne View Post

Whoa! I don't have this app, but can someone explain how entering a URL in a browser can change the functionality of a real button on the phone? Is this something to be worried about?

It opens the Camera+ app... should you be worried? I dunno, but I'm not.
post #21 of 186
Quote:
Originally Posted by bwik View Post

These arrogant customers must be stopped from using their product and having fun.

These arrogant developers have to stop trying to work around rules that they agree to follow. They knew that this wasn't allowed, that's why they tried to work around it in a stupid way.
post #22 of 186
Quote:
Originally Posted by KangaMoJo View Post

The harm, especially now with multi-tasking is that when I want to change my volume I expect the volume buttons to work. If I'm listening to music and go to take a picture I don't want to keep track of what applications have remapped whatever buttons ad hoc.

Or worse having a program like camera plus operate in situations where you *don't* want pictures taken at the wrong time.

Quote:
The numbnuts are the devs who raked in half a mil in two months, were told previously not to do it and yet went ahead and publicized it anyway. Would or do you raise your kids that way? And now they're losing $850-ish everyday. Someone there needs to take a basic business class or get themselves a real Product Manager.

They actually submitted it twice and were rejected twice - they believed that it would work twice. Whoever thought it was a good idea to do this is stupid. And the idea that taptaptap can just stonewall everyone and not comment on this (camera plus is constantly crashing on me right now) is just really disappointing.
post #23 of 186
Quote:
Originally Posted by nagromme View Post

(Also, why would I want a clicky button that makes the camera jerk and blur, when the current soft-tap shutter makes my iPhone a more stable and sharp camera than my “real” camera?

We tried to have a complete stranger take a picture of us last winter at the summit of a ski slope; between the glare and the "click on this area of the screen" shutter button that's impossible to see with strong light from behind the photographer, we never did get a usable picture. Camera+ would've been a nice alternative that day.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Prof. Peabody View Post

Why the giant advertisement for "Camera+"???

Your even promoting this deceitful nonsense by pointing out how much money these guys made by scamming the app store and screwing over their customers.

I wouldn't worry about "free advertising" for the app as I believe their sales just went to zero.

Their customers aren't screwed over unless and until they need an upgrade to the app; the existing version still works for those who bought it before it got pulled from the app store.

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post #24 of 186
Quote:
Originally Posted by nagromme View Post

(Also, why would I want a clicky button that makes the camera jerk and blur, when the current soft-tap shutter makes my iPhone a more stable and sharp camera than my “real” camera? To each his own, of course.

My experience is exactly the opposite. I find that I have to retake some photos on my iP4 because the act of physically tapping the screen will move the phone ever so slightly. Enough to cause blur in the picture. And no, I don't have a shaky hand and I'm tapping or touching the shutter release button ever so slightly. On my Nikon D-SLR, I've got my right index finger on the shutter, I push it down halfway to lock in the focus and exposure and then the rest of the way to snap the pic. The extra mass of my D-SLR and lens provide extra stability that the light and compact iPhone can't provide. Obviously, I'm not expecting the iPhone to be a replacement for a D-SLR. Personally, having a volume button act as a shutter release while this app is running would have been a good thing, but, to each his own and all that.
post #25 of 186
Quote:
Originally Posted by nagromme View Post

I agree, not allowing the use of volume buttons for other purposes is rule that does real harm: its something you cant do!

Let us remember, however, that this rule ALSO has benefits, and not pretend its a one-sided move of pure evil. The positive: the volume buttons on your device always work I think its a rule that does more harm than good. And Android has rules too, much as people like to think otherwise. If you want pure anarchy, youre going to have to hack somethingan iPhone or otherwise.

(Also, why would I want a clicky button that makes the camera jerk and blur, when the current soft-tap shutter makes my iPhone a more stable and sharp camera than my real camera? To each his own, of course. This is a good example to use when asking, exactly what is it that Apple wont allow that you need to have Android for? If a small UI function like this is important to you, then its good that the Android choice exists. You will, however, find OTHER problems with camera operation and general UI on Androidtheres no free lunch )

I do like the apps (which Apple DOES allow) that give you a full-screen shutter button for tapping without having to look. Its a good ideaalthough I manage to feel the existing shutter button pretty well anywayits right above the physical Home button.

It doesn't matter. If that's the rule, then that's it. If developers aren't happy, then if enough care, they can protest it. So can users. This app sold very well without this use. As you mention, there are other, and better ways to do this that are allowed.

It gets tiring reading some people here being happy about the concept of "sticking it to the man" for no good reason. The app store is what it is, if developers don't like that, they don't have to develop. If they want to develop, then they have to stick to the rules.

And that doesn't mean that I agree with all the rules, but they are what they are. Over time, Apple has loosened some, and tightened others. Despite what some might think, it isn't that much better with Android, unless you're writing malware apparently.
post #26 of 186
Quote:
Originally Posted by John.B View Post

... Their customers aren't screwed over unless and until they need an upgrade to the app; the existing version still works for those who bought it before it got pulled from the app store.

They screwed over their customers by means of producing an app they never intended to support and by taking an approach to app sales that basically says: "Milk em for every dime they got then pull up stakes and disappear." These kind of hijinks also puts a chilling effect on all the other apps in the store.

It's dumb, it's deceitful, and the needs of the actual customer is the furthest thing from the minds of people like this. The fact that they are now crowing to everyone who will listen about how much money they made off of this stunt is the proof of what their real intentions were.
post #27 of 186
Quote:
Originally Posted by Postulant View Post

It opens the Camera+ app... should you be worried? I dunno, but I'm not.

That's not what the article says. It says that the URL enables the feature. The remapping of the button feature. Is the article wrong?

Also, when the volume button is remapped, is it permanent or just while using the Camera+ app?
post #28 of 186
Quote:
Originally Posted by PaulMJohnson View Post

No shock that they pulled it, but I admire this company for what they did.

Seems to be in the hacker spirit that Apple was initially based on......

You admire the schoolboy fashion they tried to sneak this in? Cheating is never good. If they were that stupid to not realize that Apple would find out and remove the app, I can't see anything good about this. Now they have to remove the feature to get back into the store. So what good did it do?
post #29 of 186
Everybody was screaming for multi tasking- these rules are in place to allow that. If you are running the iPod or Pandora how would you be able to change volume if you needed to while using this app?
post #30 of 186
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rob55 View Post

My experience is exactly the opposite. I find that I have to retake some photos on my iP4 because the act of physically tapping the screen will move the phone ever so slightly.

I use to have the same problem until I realized that you could "hold down" the shutter button and when you want to take the picture, you release it. That caused much less shake from actually tapping the button.
post #31 of 186
Quote:
Originally Posted by melgross View Post

You admire the schoolboy fashion they tried to sneak this in? Cheating is never good. If they were that stupid to not realize that Apple would find out and remove the app, I can't see anything good about this. Now they have to remove the feature to get back into the store. So what good did it do?

It got them a lot of attention and it showed that they could do it. If everyone just slavishly follows the rules life becomes a little dull. Jobs himself said it was better to be a pirate than join the navy - stretching what authority says you can do is fun.
post #32 of 186
Quote:
Originally Posted by JupiterOne View Post

That's not what the article says. It says that the URL enables the feature. The remapping of the button feature. Is the article wrong?

Also, when the volume button is remapped, is it permanent or just while using the Camera+ app?

It's only for the Camera+ app.


"camplus://enablevolumesnap" - that's the URL
post #33 of 186
Quote:
Originally Posted by Postulant View Post

It's only for the Camera+ app.

So it gets "unmapped" when the app is closed or suspended?

Also, what about my original comment about the article stating that visiting a URL remaps the button. If visiting a URL in a browser can change the functionality of physical button on the iPhone, doesn't that seem like a security risk?

Quote:
"camplus://enablevolumesnap"

I see you added this. So does this mean it's only accessing the local software and not the internet?
post #34 of 186
Quote:
Originally Posted by cnocbui View Post

Didn't you know that using a device in a non-standard way, violates the first law of 'think different'?

It does when you're ignorant.
post #35 of 186
Quote:
Originally Posted by PaulMJohnson View Post

It got them a lot of attention and it showed that they could do it. If everyone just slavishly follows the rules life becomes a little dull. Jobs himself said it was better to be a pirate than join the navy - stretching what authority says you can do is fun.

Please go murder someone and I'll lament how you made my life anything but dull.
post #36 of 186
Quote:
Originally Posted by mdriftmeyer View Post

Please go murder someone and I'll lament how you made my life anything but dull.

Oh for crying out loud people on this board are ridiculous at times. I don't have a problem with people who stretch the rules hence I like murder?

These people have done no harm to anyone. They've had a bash at something, got their 15 minutes of fame and will no doubt be laughing about what they did.
post #37 of 186
Quote:
Originally Posted by JupiterOne View Post




I see you added this. So does this mean it's only accessing the local software and not the internet?

Yes.........
post #38 of 186
Quote:
Originally Posted by Postulant View Post

Yes.........

Moreover, it's not even accessing the browser. It's not a security risk.
post #39 of 186
My question is this: Why does a device that shuns buttons (i.e. a keyboard) have buttons to begin with? Why not a tap on the screen to open the window that opens anyway and have a slider to adjust the volume? I have always wondered that. Everything else on the phone (control wise anyway) is done by sliding. The phone would only have a on / off button, and the mute function could be added to a profile function accessed from the home button. Double click and hold the home button, get a profile drop down, select the style of ringer you want, and done. The notion of the "buttonless" phone is not being fully explored here. The fact that the screen can be whatever you want on it is amazing. The fact that Apple thinks the millions of iPhone buyers are just too dumb to figure out these things is just stupid. The bottom line of this is that it gave you the OPTION of using the button, and, ONLY in this app. If Grandma is more at ease tapping the screen, fine. She wouldn't have bought this app in the first place. Score ANOTHER one for BlackBerry. On THEIR phones, you can make the buttons do what you want. Guess what Jobs is saying is that BB owners are smarter?
post #40 of 186
I don't think I agree with this app pull. I understand that they need to draw a line, but when the default mode of the App follows Apple's human interface guidelines that should be enough. This feels more like they are setting an example because the developer didn't ask for permission first. Instead of the URL enabler, I bet Apple would allow it in the App settings as long as it wasn't the default option.

EDIT: I stand corrected. I didn't realize they spelled out that Volume Controls couldn't be repurposed in the dev agreement. I thought this was just an issue with easter eggs and unexpected default application behavior. I'm not sure if this is a quote from the agreement or a rejection letter though.

"Your application cannot be added to the App Store because it uses iPhone volume buttons in a non-standard way, potentially resulting in user confusion. Changing the behavior of iPhone external hardware buttons is a violation of the iPhone Developer Program License Agreement. Applications must adhere to the iPhone Human Interface Guidelines as outlined in the iPhone Developer Program License Agreement section 3.3.7"

(Thanks to Postulant for looking this up)
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