Apple drops opposition to PCalc iOS calculator widget

Posted:
in iPhone edited November 2014
Users who want a calculator in their iOS Notification Center can breathe easy after Apple dropped its request to a developer asking it to remove its widget feature.

iOS 8 App Extension widgets


Yesterday, the developer of PCalc was profiled as having run afoul of Apple's evolving and sometimes controversial App Store approval policies, after an app reviewer informed the company that it couldn't perform calculations within its widget, despite the entire app being nothing more than a calculator.

Apple offered a confirmation to TechCrunch today saying the PCalc app and its App Extension widget were not at risk from being removed from the App Store and that other calculator widgets would continue to be approved as well.

Specific to Widgets, Apple's documentation describes App Extensions as "providing quick updates or enabling brief tasks -- for example, posting updates on package deliveries, the latest surf reports, or breaking news stories."

It also warns developers not to hog resources within widgets, noting that, "functionality that makes heavy use of system resources is appropriate for an app, not an app extension."

The company's App Store approval guidelines further outline that widgets must actually provide some functionality and can't display ads or incorporate in app purchases. Given that PCalc did not appear to be infringing upon any stated policy, the request to change the app appears to have been a mistake.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 18
    solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    So was this a misunderstanding, or Apple making a decision then pulling back on it back on it because they didn't quite think it through?
  • Reply 2 of 18
    Jolly good!
  • Reply 3 of 18
    I find the pcalc widget very useful. I use it at work all the time. Glad they can keep it.
  • Reply 4 of 18
    nobodyynobodyy Posts: 377member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post



    So was this a misunderstanding, or Apple making a decision then pulling back on it back on it because they didn't quite think it through?

     

    I think it was a knee jerk reaction by someone who had their mind in the correct place, just not making the best judgment call. 

     

    Widgets are third class citizens in iOS (behind the OS itself and apps) and a combination of heavy widgets could have some strange effects for the front end user (especially in cases where a developer is new). "Calculations" is a very broad term, which probably will take some trial and error between app developers and Apple to actually nail down a more specific usage-term.

  • Reply 5 of 18

    I think an Apple App reviewer had a too broad interpretation of some Apple guideline regarding widgets. Then when people started complaining about the decision it was escalated up the chain of command and the decision was reversed by a manager.

  • Reply 6 of 18
    quadra 610quadra 610 Posts: 6,756member

    It also warns developers not to hog resources within widgets, noting that, "functionality that makes heavy use of system resources is appropriate for an app, not an app extension."

     

     

    This.   ^^^

     

    ?It's little details like this that keep iOS quality, speed, and efficiency, way above other mobile operating systems.

  • Reply 7 of 18
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by RalphMouth View Post

     

    I think an Apple App reviewer had a too broad interpretation of some Apple guideline regarding widgets. Then when people started complaining about the decision it was escalated up the chain of command and the decision was reversed by a manager.


     

    I am perfectly Ok with this. They should being trying to keep the experience top notch, but be subject to review. I do not believe it was even pulled from the store. So maybe Apple left a short public notice period this time on purpose?

  • Reply 8 of 18
    There's already a calculator on the swipe up & it's pretty good. What does the Widget calc offer that's better, that's what i'd like to know.
  • Reply 9 of 18
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 9,472member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Quadra 610 View Post

     

    It also warns developers not to hog resources within widgets, noting that, "functionality that makes heavy use of system resources is appropriate for an app, not an app extension."

     

     

    This.   ^^^

     

    ?It's little details like this that keep iOS quality, speed, and efficiency, way above other mobile operating systems.




    Correct, because even though a third party app would be the culprit Apple would still get blamed for a sluggish system or reduced battery life. 

  • Reply 10 of 18

    Becuase it's one less click and therefore faster.

  • Reply 11 of 18
    asciiascii Posts: 5,941member

    Apple themselves provide a calculator widget for the OS X notification centre, so it's a bit confusing why they weren't allowing it on iOS.

  • Reply 12 of 18
    Apple has installed a calculator in one of the past updates which you can easily access when you swipe up. Seems like with this feature it definitely shouldn't matter to them if there is a calculator widget!
  • Reply 13 of 18
    Originally Posted by ascii View Post

    Apple themselves provide a calculator widget for the OS X notification centre, so it's a bit confusing why they weren't allowing it on iOS.

     

    Apple doesn’t provide a weather widget for iPads but does for iPhone, too. There’s zero consistency and it’s embarrassing. iPads should get every app that iPhones have.

  • Reply 14 of 18
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

     
    Originally Posted by ascii View Post

    Apple themselves provide a calculator widget for the OS X notification centre, so it's a bit confusing why they weren't allowing it on iOS.

     

    Apple doesn’t provide a weather widget for iPads but does for iPhone, too. There’s zero consistency and it’s embarrassing. iPads should get every app that iPhones have.


     

    Quite. 

     

    Why a calculator widget in OS X but not in iOS, Apple? Chop, chop, Cook. Less of the politicising, more working on the basics, please.

  • Reply 15 of 18
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by DogCowabunga View Post



    There's already a calculator on the swipe up & it's pretty good. What does the Widget calc offer that's better, that's what i'd like to know.

     

    It’s handy having several things in one place.

  • Reply 16 of 18
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by ascii View Post

     

    Apple themselves provide a calculator widget for the OS X notification centre, so it's a bit confusing why they weren't allowing it on iOS.




    This led many to believe it was an underhanded way of telling developers not to replicate OS X functionality, which Apple has a history of doing for iOS and OS X... or perhaps they were just embarrassed that PCalc was better!

     

    Either way it's nothing but a complete backflip from Cupertino.  It's not like a calculator widget can be a massive resource hog.  I'm sure PCalc is very efficient and requests virtually no resources.

     

    There were many much more resource-hungry Dashboard widgets including full-blown games!

  • Reply 17 of 18
    richlrichl Posts: 2,213member

    Apple's reviewers have been very inconsistent lately. I've had a number of apps rejected for bogus reasons. However, they've all been accepted after raising a dispute. 

     

    I think they must have a lot of new people on the team.

  • Reply 18 of 18

    PCalc offers RPN:

     

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reverse_Polish_notation

     

    Once you learn to use RPN, it's hard to go back to "infix notation" calculation. Also, PCalc gets entry-handling and stack manipulation "right" in RPN, which most knock-offs don't do, leading to clumsy operation; PCalc does RPN just like HP's legendary HP 35 and its follow-ons.

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