FlickType developer suing Apple over Apple Watch keyboard [u]

Posted:
in Apple Watch edited September 15
Responding to Apple Watch Series 7's new QuickPath keyboard, the developer of seemingly similar app FlickType has tweeted that he plans to raise the new feature in court, if his current suit goes to trial.

QuickPath typing keyboard on Apple Watch
QuickPath typing keyboard on Apple Watch


FlickType developer Kosta Eleftheriou, recently discontinued his the iPhone version of his app, citing issues with the App Store. Now after Apple unveiled an on-screen keyboard for the Apple Watch that is similar to FlickType, Eleftheriou took to Twitter to object.

So now we know. See you in court, @Apple. https://t.co/hJtPI2Z83J pic.twitter.com/1s7MUSLTpc

-- Kosta Eleftheriou (@keleftheriou)


This is the original rejection letter Eleftheriou received, and it's not confirmed whether the emphasis is his or Apple's. Either way, the key line in regards how the app was rejected specifically because it is a keyboard for the Apple Watch.

As well as tweeting "see you in court," after the "California Streaming" event, Eleftheriou has already filed a lawsuit that covers this issue. Filed in March 2021, it claims Apple abuses its market power.

"Apple's promise to help developers build, test, market, and distribute their products and grow their business through a secure, trusted, and accessible marketplace is just a facade designed to wrongfully entice developers to the App Store," the lawsuit says .

Eleftheriou's FlickType launched on iPhone in 2018, and was then followed by an Apple Watch version.

Apple told AppleInsider that the letter shown in the Twitter thread dates from 2019 when such keyboards were not allowed on the Apple Watch. The company initially allowed the app back because of its accessibility function and, separately, has removed the constraint.

Consequently, according to Apple, there are now several keyboard extension apps for Apple Watch on the App Store. And Apple featured FlickType in its Top Apps roundup of 2020.

Then following the issues that prompted Eleftheriou to sue, Apple says that it has been in contact with the developer. Based on the information he's provided, Apple expects that the accessibility keyboard functions comply with App Store guidelines, and would review a new version.

Updated: 12:05 PM ET with Apple's response.

Read on AppleInsider

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 15
    cpsrocpsro Posts: 2,893member
    Go for it, man!
    williamlondon
  • Reply 2 of 15
    Of course he is. This baby can't get over the fact he made a crappy app and other people made a better version. He's going to get laughed out of court on this one. 
    edited September 14 ikirwilliamlondonwatto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 15
    dk49dk49 Posts: 135member
    Apple could simply say that all versions prior to Watch Series 7 would fail the human interaction guidelines because of smaller screen size. 
    StrangeDayswatto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 15
    elijahgelijahg Posts: 2,315member
    Of course he is. This baby can't get over the fact he made a crappy app and other people made a better version. He's going to get laughed out of court on this one. 
    So "other people" i.e. Apple making nigh-on the same keyboard whilst disallowing this dev's own one means the dev's is crappy, despite the fact it was rejected because it is a keyboard and not because it was "crappy"? Have you seen the fart apps in the App Store?
    edited September 14 uraharaK!llSwitchgatorguy
  • Reply 5 of 15
    Apple should allow 3rd party keyboards on the new Watch, it's got a bigger screen, and they're doing it themselves.
    edited September 14
  • Reply 6 of 15
    entropysentropys Posts: 3,109member
    I don’t think this qualifies as an example of Sherlocking.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 15
    entropys said:
    I don’t think this qualifies as an example of Sherlocking.
    No one said anything about sherlocking. Why would you bring it up?
  • Reply 8 of 15
    entropysentropys Posts: 3,109member
    The claim is that Apple shut down this dude’s keyboard app and replaced it with their own version. I would call that sherlocking if that is what happened. Don’t think so though.
    edited September 14 watto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 15
    Suing Apple for this is a waste of money.
    Apple can decide not to accept certain system software modules from third parties.  Keyboard security comes to mind.

    Try submitting software that messes with the Secure Enclave and it will be rejected.  That does not mean Apple can't do it themselves.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 10 of 15
    Suing Apple for this is a waste of money.
    Apple can decide not to accept certain system software modules from third parties.  Keyboard security comes to mind.

    Try submitting software that messes with the Secure Enclave and it will be rejected.  That does not mean Apple can't do it themselves.
    Perhaps. But it is another signal of how Apple hates developers. They could have handled this FAR better instead of banning and doing it themselves. He's not going to win because Apple can have a ton of legal excuses. They could have just told him they didn't want it, or that it was on the roadmap and thus pointless. But they allowed crappier keyboards on the watch so it's a big F you to critical developers again.
    elijahg
  • Reply 11 of 15
    What I don't understand is how you're supposed to USE a keyboard this small. I look at this and tbh my finger wouldn't hit less than four to six keys at a time. I honestly have no idea how you're supposed to type on it. When his app was rejected originally "for not following human interface guidelines" I thought it was because the keys were just too small for human fingers to use.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 12 of 15
    Gee, use the darn voice for texting on AW. It works for me
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 13 of 15
    DAalsethDAalseth Posts: 1,725member
    Kuyangkoh said:
    Gee, use the darn voice for texting on AW. It works for me
    Same here. I’m only going to send short messages with my AW, otherwise I get out the iPad. 
    “Siri, Send a message to X…I’ll be home by 4:30”
    Works like a charm.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 14 of 15
    The reviews on this guy's app were terrible even before his spat with apple. It's not illegal to build a better mousetrap. He has no patent, anyone is free to create an AW keyboard, including Apple.

    I also love how he posts his rejection letter (from 2019) and leaves out the date. Shady upon shady. His app was allowed in, he pulled it himself, and now he's mad that there's another implementation.
    edited September 15 watto_cobra
  • Reply 15 of 15
    MarvinMarvin Posts: 14,548moderator
    DAalseth said:
    What I don't understand is how you're supposed to USE a keyboard this small. I look at this and tbh my finger wouldn't hit less than four to six keys at a time. I honestly have no idea how you're supposed to type on it. When his app was rejected originally "for not following human interface guidelines" I thought it was because the keys were just too small for human fingers to use.
    It looks quite usable for short text messages (3:30), it uses text prediction to account for pressing a wide area:



    Another design they could have gone with is like the Mac Dock magnifier zoom with the letters in a line (probably not all visible at the same time) and swipe left/right to land on the letter, similar to how contacts on iOS can be quickly scrolled through by swiping along the right-hand side.

    It could be done by tapping in roughly the correct place and if it's the wrong letter, slide left/right for the correct one and lift to accept. Auto-complete could help with suggestions too.

    People can't always speak to their watch like in a library, church, funeral. If they get a buzz on the wrist at such an event, someone could just be asking something basic like 'when do you want to meet?' and they can reply '4pm at the bar', 'what do you want for dinner?' 'pasta' etc.

    watto_cobra
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