Thursday, September 11, 2008

Podcaster rejeceted because it duplicates iTunes functionality

Today I finally got a reply from Apple about the status of Podcaster.

Apple Rep says: Since Podcaster assists in the distribution of podcasts, it duplicates the functionality of the Podcast section of iTunes.

That's right folks, it duplicates the functionality of the desktop version of iTunes.
Therefore, it was denied from sale in the app store. Although my app does allow you to listen to podcasts (like iTunes), it also allows you to download them directly to device and that is something Apple does not offer.

I find this a bit strange considering there are numerous apps that duplicate the functionality of other apps. For example, any calculator app is duplicating the functionality of Apples calculator app. Any app that tells you the weather is duplicating the Yahoo weather app. Any app that let's you listen to music is duplicating the iPod portion of the iPhone.

There are also several apps that simply allow you to listen to a podcast (Diggnation and Mobility Today just to name a few) that are not denied from the app store.

Apple had nothing in the terms prohibiting developers from duplicating features currently available on desktop application. I followed all the guidelines and made sure everything is in the correct place. Yet Apple denies me because I allow users to download podcasts just like iTunes.

I have emailed them back to find out what I must do in order for the app to be approved. I still have not received a reply. In the mean time, I have started to distribute the app via the Ad Hoc Method. If you would like to purchase a copy, please head over to http://www.nextdayoff.com and submit your UDID.

UPDATE: I used the word donation instead of pay because that's how I had it for the web app (podcaster.fm). The price of this application is $9.99.

132 comments:

James from Irvine said...

What the hack are they thinking. The iPhone has ZERO support for downloading or managing podcasts. This app is just what I want. Who cares what desktop app it duplicates the features of. I don't want to use a desktop app. That is why a got an iPhone. I hate syncing my iPhone every day and being tied to only one machine. I want to get podcasts any time from anywhere.

Apple can bite my shinny metal ass.

All I can think is maybe they are planning to add podcast downloading ability to a future iPhone firmware update.

Jon Roig said...

It is kinda weird, especially given that they allow apps like Simplify Media and whatnot into the store.

Maybe they just don't get what it does yet... I'd imagine that if you spread the word, you might be able to get a more constructive answer from apple.

Is it possible that they're about to roll this out in an upcoming upgrade?

Jon Roig said...

Btw -- posted this to digg:

http://digg.com/gadgets/Apple_Rejects_Podcast_App_duplicates_itunes_functionality

Almerica said...

I guess it's always possible that Apple could roll this feature out but the fact of the matter is that it's not out currently. Don't deny my app because you might or might not make this feature.

Cowboy H4x0r said...

That really stinks, I love this app. I hope you are going to appeal this considering there are a dozen calculator apps. Anything the users can do to help push this through?

Grant said...

I'm guessing that's the vanilla rejection reason. I think the real problem is that accepting it would set the precedent that audio could be downloaded to the phone through 3rd party apps. Imagine how much Amazon would love to get an mp3 store app on the iPhone. Of course, by this logic Apple can reject it saying it duplicates the functionality of the iTunes store app.

Andrew Mason said...

How many times is Apple going to do something like this, how absurd will the claims be, before we come together and do something about it?

When "Pull My Finger" was rejected from the app store, I started a campaign of people pledging to buy the app in an attempt to debunk the "limited utility" claim.

If you care about Podcaster getting rejected, then you should join this campaign: http://www.thepoint.com/campaigns/apple-please-allow-pull-my-finger-into-the-app-store

Please help spread the word!

Almerica said...

Andrew, The same person that denied your app also denied my app. Maybe he is the problem.

donpdonp said...

the application threatens some piece of the iPhone business model. imagine if the OS X desktop worked that way.

John M said...

This is my dream application for the iPhone. This is what I have been waiting for. It is a shame that Apple has gotten so big that it can't give users what they want.

Anonymous said...

This further demonstrates that the iPhone and its DRM are a load of bunk. The device is a computer, and in the interest of fair use and a competitive market, you have a right to write and sell whatever software you want for it. Reject Apple's anticompetitive BS! Protest this nonsense, instead of buying into it!

Anonymous said...

Absolutely unacceptable.

Anonymous said...

I wonder if you will be one of the first iPhone apps subjected to the iPhone kill file.

Matt said...

Wild Speculation and Supposition follows:

I wonder if the reasoning on Apple's part might have more to do with certain details of their agreements with the record labels and the phone carriers (especially AT&T). Note that the iTunes Music Store app on the iPhone/iPod Touch only works over WiFi, yet the App Store runs over both WiFi and EDGE/3G. I seem to recall that this was due to certain licensing restrictions with the music labels. (I'm searching for a reference for this)

While podcasts are clearly not governed by the record labels or phone networks, their license agreements probably say something general like "distribution of audio recordings over a wireless phone data network". In order for Apple to keep their often tenuous relationships with these groups, they need to ensure that their devices and software aren't violating the terms of the agreement (in any Apple-sanctioned way).

The other apps mentioned (Simplify Media, Pandora, etc) don't download music to the device, therefore they fall under "streaming" or "broadcasting" terms of most licensing discussions I've ever seen, which seem to be out of the scope, or implicitly allowed, by the agreements that Apple is party to.

punkassjim said...

I've been dying for an app like this, and I've always assumed it had to be on Apple's "punch list" of fancy features to add to later firmwares.

Now, on the one hand, it makes sense that they would WANT to reject an app like this. When thinking about weather apps and alternative calculators, there's one important distinction to consider. _Apple was first._ They already had something in the hands of their users, and therefore the user was empowered with the ability to choose whether or not they paid money for a similar app. In your scenario, though, if you come out with an app before Apple does, then Apple (and you) will have to deal with angry customers who regret paying $10 for the app. Sure, you could tell them to "deal," but Apple's a bit more cognizant of such scenarios.

On the other hand, it's all about clout. The only 3rd-party app I can think of with a similar story to yours is Pandora, with its likeness to the new Genius feature. It's not a direct correlation, but it's definitely true that both pieces of software allow you do listen to music that shares common attributes...I assume the iTunes Genius is built upon similar principles to the Music Genome Project. However, Apple allowed Pandora to publish an app that does what Apple's own firmware was going to have in the next release. Why?

Clout. Pandora has pull. You don't.

It's a very conspiracy-theorist way of looking at it, but I'm having trouble seeing it any other way.

Kevin said...

Two words: "Google Android".
'Nuff said.

DaveyJJ said...

I'm stunned.

While there, arguably, a case to be made for Apple yanking the I am Rich app on the grounds of "consumer protection," and the Pull My Finger app on the even more questionable grounds of "good taste" ... I think this rejection sends a chilling signal to people developing productivity or business apps that perform and look great, but Apple simply doesn't like.

That line in the sand needs much better public definition, Apple.

Simply stunned.

DaveyJJ said...

PS. Submitted to Slashdot. Hope you've got a good ISP.

natobasso said...

Your app would divert data (ie. money!) from Apple's iTunes music and podcast downloads. The calculator app isn't a money generator for apple so it can be remade 1,000,000 times without any effect. Sounds pretty obvious, right?

Dan said...

Completely f'ing ridiculous. Exactly what I (and many others) were concerned about with the app store being a devs only venue for iPhone apps.

Josh said...

natobasso -

I don't see how that takes away from Apple's revenue. Can't I put stuff in iTunes (my own CDs or audio files) without paying apple? Podcasts are pretty much free (some you gotta pay for), and if I know about one, it shouldn't matter how I get into my iPhone. It's not like this is a podcast directory app (people can pay Apple for prominent placement in their directory).

You essentially have to know about a podcast in order to add it to this app. [OK, the search feature. Maybe if you remove it, that will help.]

David said...

Surely the reason is the potential bandwidth load on the network. Podcasts can be very large - the podcast of the recent Apple event was about 750 mb. If you are limited to getting these from iTunes it reduces the risk of overloading the cell network.

Anonymous said...

This is not the first podcast application rejected. Another Podcast App was rejected earlier in the week.

Anonymous said...

What, you expected Apple to treat 3rd party developers honorably? Where have you been the last 20 years...

This is why I'll neither buy nor develop for an iphone.

Gopi said...

@Anonymous:
"What, you expected Apple to treat 3rd party developers honorably? Where have you been the last 20 years..."

Presumably, he was somewhere he could get actual *information* rather than ignorant innuendo.

Apple does not have a history of doing things like this to third party developers. They don't always communicate enough, *especially* about future plans. Actively screwing developers, though, is not part of their MO.

That being said, rejections like this are the precise reason I am uncomfortable with Apple App Store approval requirements.

Before you jump too quickly to a Symbian-based phone, remember that Symbian also does app signing. I think they have gotten less strict in their *policies*. The initial plan was *extremely* restrictive and would've required that pretty much everybody pay for certificates and have apps signed at a cost of a few hundred Euros.

Series60 phones do not enforce all those policies right now because of developer complaints. But, the mechanism is there and can be enforced at will by them.

I'm still happy I got an iPhone because it is the best phone out there in many ways. But I can switch to another phone in a blink if I want. I would be *very* uncomfortable building a business model around the iPhone.

Apple is building all sorts of technical restrictions into the App Store model. Apps aren't supposed to be able to do evil. Why do we *also* need Apple to stop us even looking at "redundant" apps?

I've bought I think three different apps that let you add multiple timers for events. (ie: Birthday in 3 weeks, it's been 6 months since you moved, etc). Each of them has different strengths and weaknesses. I do not want somebody figuring out which one is best and denying me the others.

As an example of priorities, I want a distributed grocery list app. I've read lists of beautiful features of grocery list apps out there; I've bought one or two. They're nicer than Zenbe for this...but. zenbe syncs easily. My wife can add things to my grocery list right away; she can search the fridge while I'm walking the aisles. That is more useful to me than a "better" grocery list app.

Even with this behaviour from Apple, however, I still find the iPhone apps to be better than apps on any of the other platforms I've tried. If they do keep doing this, however, I will have to re-think and probably switch platforms, sadly.

Mobilehavoc said...

I hate to say I told you so. But yes, I told you so. No surprise here.

bkmrkr said...

This is like Microsoft banning Firefox because it duplicates internet explorer functionality.

Dale said...

All Apple progress must be presented by Steve Jobs, in a black turtleneck. This is an obvious violation.

Anonymous said...

Thats called Apple's way of doing things. Almost everyday I read something weird about Apple.

Anonymous said...

I wish you the best. This looks as if it is an app that I have wanted for a long time. I want to get my podcasts and listen to them without my MacBook. I always have my iPhone. I don't always have my MacBook.

Dan said...

Apple doesn't make money from podcasts... so its not a competition thing, I'm guessing the reasoning was that they thought it did what the iTunes podcast management already does.

Dan Corban said...

What kind of shady business is this? And I am not referring to Apple. I go to the Podcaster website and I see this: "Enter your email address to purchase or see the status of your order. Podcaster is $9.99."
Then in the sidebar it says: "We are NOT selling Podcaster. We are giving it away as a free gift when we receive a donation of $9.99 or more."
Ok so I guess someone has a different dictionary than the rest of us, because "purchasing" something means buying it, which means it was for sale. The site also says "Podcaster is $9.99", which cannot possibly be interpreted as any other way but "We are selling Podcaster for $9.99"
Is this a joke?

Anonymous said...

It's utterly obvious that your app wasn't approved because of the excessive bandwidth and storage requirements of downloading tons of podcasts. Even Apple's own App Store won't download apps over 10MB over the air. Given that everyone that uses an iPhone also has and syncs with iTunes, which has that functionality built-in anyway,and fact that your app introduces a division between iTunes-downloaded podcasts and Podcaster-downloaded podcasts, it's no wonder. You're not only duplicating functionality, you're doing it in a way that puts a huge burden on the network.

I understand you're upset, but frankly, you wrote an app that obviously wouldn't be approved.

Emily said...

It seems to me that the most likely reasoning behind this is the downloading and saving of audio. I can't think of another app that saves audio to the iPhone; others just stream it. I'm not saying this is an acceptable reason to have rejected it, just that it seems most likely. It could be a contract issue with record labels, or it could be just a bad decision at Apple. Either way, I really hope people come together over this and let Apple know that this kind of arbitrary control over distribution is not acceptable.

Andrey Petrov said...

As a misplaced Linux user with an iPhone, this is exactly what I need. iTunes does not work on Linux, so it's not quite as easy as "plug it in, hit sync, and go have some coffee". I hope your app makes it through, meanwhile I'll consider buying it ad-hoc.

Anonymous said...

I prefer it distributed ad hoc. Now if you decide to add a function that lets it run in the background or something Apple wouldn't like, you won't have to compromise.

NK said...

"but since Apple can turn it off remotely"

Dude, get serious. No one in their right mind would pay $10 for something out of their or your control. It's a sweet looking app but you really should consider selling it to jailbreak phones. Put this on Cydia and then I'll buy it in an instant, otherwise good luck.

Oh, and you probably won't do well with your protest by going rogue, I doubt Apple is pleased (but f' them anyway).

Anonymous said...

AMong many other functions, my Nokia N95 8Gb downloads, plays and manages podcasts fine. It also has a 5Mpixel camera and a sophisticated GPS location system. And you can use it as an IP phone over WLAN. Why would I want an iPhone?

J. said...

Several commenters have stated the reason Apple rejected this app - excessive use of bandwith - only to back down because they fear being attacked for making sense. So, I am saying that without the ritual apologetics.

The solution would be to host your own content servers for podcasts, which is, of course, impossible.

benlm said...

gopi: You are wrong. Apple and Steve Jobs (NeXT) has a long history of doing things like this to developers.

I knew there was something very wrong with my iPhone when the first thing it asked me to do was hook it up to iTunes. I bought a PHONE with data and wifi connectivity, not an iPod music player tied to one computer running iTunes. I returned it to the store.

Then I bought a Nokia e71 which can do everything on its own; no computer and special monolithic monster app required. I can download music directly to the phone using a great audio/video podcast app. And I can install any app I want - signed or unsigned.

The reason the iphone podcast app was rejected has nothing to do with bandwidth and storage. It has everything to do with control. Apple wants everything to go through the iTunes app so Apple can control everything on the phone. Maybe in the future they will add their own podcast app on the iphone but it will be their app so they can remain in control (and it will save the disappointed people who bought your app which would become obsolete.)

benlm said...

j. said: excessive use of bandwith - ...
The solution would be to host your own content servers for podcasts, which is, of course, impossible.


What are you talking about? First of all, Apple doesn't host most podcasts and secondly, hosting your own podcast servers is not impossible. As Cramer would say, "You know nothing!"

David Ciccone said...

This is David from Mobility Today I would definitely buy it.. I already sent it in!!! Dont give up!

Kremlinology said...

@Matt:

The iTunes Store works only over WiFi because Apple's distribution contracts don't cover mobile data networks.

@David, Anonymous, J.:

Apple gave a reason why the app was rejected, and it had nothing to do with bandwidth. Also, Safari plays audio and video from the network.

Orlando said...

This is a RSS aggregator for listen RSS Podcast and see RSS Videocast,
you add RSS podcast and then listen it
on iPhone o iPodTouch, it is free
http://www.miorss.com.
Always update your podcast preferred although not on the list of itunes.
And MIORSS is a RSS aggregator for all
RSS

Ferg said...

I'm a fed up Apple consumer that wants to lend as much support as possible. I hope this app does not find it's way to Jailbreak iPhones only. Because of that I have written to Apple and hope others will too. Hopefully enough people will take this step. http://fdossantos.tumblr.com/post/49954917/apples-walled-garden-petition

Lefty said...

As I've said on other occasions, while folks may go out and pay their own money for an iPhone, it's not as though they actually _own_ it. It's _Steve's_ phone, he's just letting you use it...

Anonymous said...

Guys ... Android is coming ... wait 2 more months... it is just as good as iPhone but completely open ...

Google are going to show Apple that keeping your cards close to your chest is not the way to do business today...

Pecos Bill said...

If Apple doesn't resolve this satisfactorily, it's definitely grounds for a lawsuit. They are liable for time spent on development AND lost revenue.

No, I'm not a lawyer.

gopi said...

benlm said...
"gopi: You are wrong. Apple and Steve Jobs (NeXT) has a long history of doing things like this to developers."

Any chance you can give some examples? Most - but of course, not *all* - of the complaints I hear about Apple's behaviour in the past are simply factually incorrect.

Most of the complaints I heard about in the 1990s were related to Apple promoting and then dropping various technologies such as QuickDraw GX, PowerTalk, OpenDoc, etc.

Deciding to cancel projects is *quite* different from intentionally squelching apps you don't like.

Barry Kelly said...

Simply put, Apple are aesthetic fascists. Their cohesiveness comes from a domineering perfectionist bully. If you want to live in a land of authoritarian software, under the decree of a despot, Apple is your kind of place. If you want to be free, go elsewhere.

Pretty though.

Anonymous said...

Well, you all know Steve's email address (hint: it starts with sjobs and ends in ??ple.com). Just send him a few nice words, he might be interested in them. And don't think that somebody else already sent him one. Just send him one yourself. I'm sure Steve will appreciate it.

- Wes

Anonymous said...

Obviously this is just the reviewer being a douche

So the easy solution is: add some functionality, then resubmit and hope that someone else reviews it. You can also try to file formal complaints, but it'll take forever and probably get you nowhere.

LKM said...

Given all the stuff we can't do, and given how Apple behaves, it's obvious that the SDK is good for games and not much more.

J. said...

Someone clueless person actually said:

"What are you talking about? First of all, Apple doesn't host most podcasts and secondly, hosting your own podcast servers is not impossible. As Cramer would say, "You know nothing.'"

The point is that unless a third-party app provider is willing to provide the same conduit the App Store does, including providing a download mechanism that does not rely on any of Apple's resources, that developer, here of Podcaster, does not have a leg to stand on.

The person who signed off on the message from the App Store apparently did not spell it out, saying duplication, when, in fact, the problems are duplication and a needless burden on Apple's resources.

For the record, I am not coming at this issue as a code writer, but as a lawyer. From that perspective, Apple is behaving quite reasonably. It is exercising control over its assets, which it has a fiduciary duty to do. If piggybacking on Apple's distribution beyond its intended contracts with software developers were allowed to catch on, it could become quite burdensome.

Hopefully, someone here understands that libertarian blather about 'freedom' notwithstanding, if you are not paying the piper enough for a salsa, you must be satisfied with a two-step.

Anonymous said...

Start working on OpenMoko instead.. im sure they will appreciate your work :)

Anonymous said...

Wow man talking about a real bummer.

Jiff
www.anonymize.us.tc

Andy & Jess said...

I have a feeling that the reason that Apple does not currently have an app or utility that allows downloading podcasts over edge/3G is due to restrictions imposed by the phone companies. Allowing multiple podcasts to be downloaded over the air would be a great feature for Apple to tout to users and an obvious current omission, but i guess the phone companies were scared on the load millions of iPbones dowloading several100+mb podcasts would put a huge load on their networks.
I think the duplicates functionality is an excuse for the real reason

Anonymous said...

screw apple and the tree they fell off may android whip their twig into shape.

benlm said...

J. confirmed he doesn't know what he's talking about when he wrote: The point is that unless a third-party app provider is willing to provide the same conduit the App Store does, including providing a download mechanism that does not rely on any of Apple's resources, that developer, here of Podcaster, does not have a leg to stand on.


The whole point of the blog post is that Apple closes the iPhone to 3rd party apps that DON'T come from the official app store. It's not that there is not a third-party that is WILLING (or able) to set up their own app store, it is that Apple will not ALLOW it (it's probably against the terms of use and technically they make it difficult.)

... when, in fact, the problems are duplication and a needless burden on Apple's resources.

Selling this podcast app puts no more burden on Apple's resources than any other app they sell in their app store. It's a one-time download of a very small application. Insignificant in terms of bandwidth costs, especially considering Apple offers many marginally useful apps for free.

For the record, I am not coming at this issue as a code writer, but as a lawyer....If piggybacking on Apple's distribution beyond its intended contracts with software developers were allowed to catch on, it could become quite burdensome.

Unfortunately you don't understand the technical issues involved. There is no "piggybacking". From Apple's point of view the podcast app is like any other app they are selling. The podcast app does not download podcasts through Apple servers and has no need to even connect to apple's servers.

Let me give you an example using another app: the New York Times app. Once the app is downloaded and installed on a user's phone, it gets all its data from the New York Times' servers. There is no burden on Apple servers. The podcast app works in much the same way. It gets data directly from the content providers' servers, not from Apple.

You may be a lawyer but you should be wary of insulting others without knowing the facts of the case you are attempting to argue.

Richard said...

Not happy about this at all. I'm normally a passive kinda guy when it comes to stuff like this, preferring to leave outrage to other people. However, I've just emailed Mr. Jobs with my thoughts on this.

Anonymous said...

App Developer: I wrote the best application EVER for the iPhone and Apple rejected it, there must be a vast conspiracy against brilliant people like me.

2nd App Developer: Yeah, they did that to me too! It's like they are out to get the average, er, brilliant guy like me that's just trying to make the world a better place with my awesome app...

Reality: It's a fucking walled garden, you dumbfucks. Apple can, should and will deny applications for ANY reason they choose. If you don't like it, move to another carrier, start your own company and open it up to everyone, dance around with flowers in your hair and talk about peace and harmony -- most of us don't give a damn what you, or your app, does. You're an ass, you don't understand that Apple is in control and there's nothing wrong with that because they built their company, invested in it and take all the risk.

Kai said...

I hope Apple eases up and gets your app into the store. It looks like you made something really great and I know I would love to use it. Hang in there man!

Anonymous said...

That is completely unacceptable. I just don't know what else to say, Apple has gone so far to lock the platform down (and eliminate any potential competition) that I've lost any desire to learn Objective-C. I love my iphone, but maybe not as much as I thought.

nick botulism said...

"J." wrote:

"The solution would be to host your own content servers for podcasts, which is, of course, impossible."

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

Dane Deasy said...

Wow. This is pretty ridiculous. Hopefully all the comments here will show Apple that this should be approved.

gerald said...

What a great application.

Search, find, stream and listen. Within just seconds of installing.

I can only hope that my meagre $9.99 helps get Podcaster accepted as an application on iTunes.

For anyone who is remotely interested in this App, sign up, hand over the %9.99, and enjoy.

Gerald.

mgabrys said...

re:"The iPhone has ZERO support for downloading or managing podcasts."

Click on the ipod icon. Click on "more" see something on the list? It starts with pod and ends with "casting".

Geez you're a noob.

Eugenia said...

Wanna bet that the problem was not the "duplicated functionality" but the amount of data that your app would have to piggyback on AT&T's EDGE and 3G? I am willing to bet that Apple has a contract with AT&T (so AT&T could allow them to create the AppStore in the first place -- as you remember AT&T was not loving the idea) that no app can use over XXX amount of data per usage. And your app uses A LOT of data.

At least this is my personal opinion (I have no insights or clues, just an opinion based on my experience with this industry that I have reported for years now as a tech journalist). To me, the "duplicated functionality" is just an excuse for the real reason behind all this. Apple can't tell you the truth because then AT&T will be pissed off, and Apple will look like it's bending over to AT&T. So they just give you that stupid excuse. Again, just my personal analysis of the situation after reading your blog.

benlm said...

gopi wrote: Most of the complaints I heard about in the 1990s were related to Apple promoting and then dropping various technologies such as QuickDraw GX, PowerTalk, OpenDoc, etc.

Deciding to cancel projects is *quite* different from intentionally squelching apps you don't like.


OK, fair enough. The examples I was thinking of were more along the lines of Apple simply ignoring developers when it came to decision-making (dropping technologies and bundling apps that compete with 3rd party products.) You can say it's their company, they can do what they want (which is true) but in the long run it discourages 3rd party development. If you compare, one of the strengths of Microsoft is they offer (for the most part) forward compatibility and support for 3rd party developers.

Anyhow, in the past Apple really hasn't had the power to intentionally squelch apps (luckily.) However, they may become so enamored with the App Store that they close off the next version of OS X to non-certified apps.

serious sam said...

mgabrys said...

re:"The iPhone has ZERO support for downloading or managing podcasts."

Click on the ipod icon. Click on "more" see something on the list? It starts with pod and ends with "casting".

Geez you're a noob.


Haha... classic. Have a good time downloading your podcasts mgabrys.
Noob.

Kremlinology said...

@Eugenia:

If Apple put themselves in the position of having to lie for AT&T, they deserve whatever blowback they get from it. I don't think that's it, though. The VOIP restriction is obviously from AT&T, and Apple used the supposed fragility of the network as an excuse for not having an SDK.

mattw said...

Look at Pandora. iTunes has a radio function, but Pandora does it also. (As does the nullriver tuner) They didn't reject those.

They may have misunderstood.

Karl said...

Even ADHoc distribution mode may be a problem, Apple has a Kill Switch in the ipod Touch and iPhone that allows apple for any reason to kill an application installed on the devices.

The only way to bypass this killswitch would be to jailbreak the iphone or ipod, course that would allow you to install applications without using the App Store as well.

Anonymous said...

A lot of users want to get podcasts directly to iPhone without being tied up to iTunes on a PC or Mac. This would probably cause bandwidth problems on AT&T's poor 3G network (compared to Sprint's much better). And this threaten's the whole iTunes model of controlling the distribution of podcasts (though you can get them without iTunes on most platforms).

In the meantime, I can get streaming news podcasts on iPhone by using http://www.stitcher.com/iphone if I need to.

Oliver S. said...

Well, you just discovered the next new feature of the iPhone: pods downloads!

Look for it in the next WWDC!

J. said...

Eugenia gets it. The gist of the issue, as I said before, is Podcaster piggybacks on AT&T/Apple resources. As others have said, the applications being offered for comparison do not download data, so are not comparable. Apple may have oversimplified the reason it gave for rejection, but it has no legal duty to give a reason at all.

The FUD comment about Apple rejecting apps for Mac OS X was unintentionally amusing. I, for one, wish Apple would kill switch anything that uses Application Enhancer.

Smart software developers will design iPhone software that does not burden Apple or AT&T.

Anton said...

Hypocrisy at its best. Another reason why I would never buy an Apple product - EVER.

james chance said...

though you may not be able to pull as much of a profit as say, with the app store, and i dont know if its been suggested yet, but maybe consider distributing your app via cydia for jailbroken iphones?

just a thought... it'd really be a shame seeing all that program development go to waste just because the ppl w/ apple are a buncha asshats.

/my $0.02

Anonymous said...

let me try and explain why apple rejected your app even as i too dislike their choice.

i believe apple is attempting to create a very comfortable ecosystem for music listening experience. believe it or not, from a consumer point of view (however counterintuitive that might sound) less choice makes the consumer happier. this is a well documented and studied phenomenon.

now, on the other hand there's a real risk for the core product (itunes) to lag behind in terms of quality. but that isnt apple's concern and so they choose not to worry about that.

diversity isnt what apple does. if you want that you should look else where.

i own many items from apple product line and i love each piece. and i constantly worry about them losing edge from business equivalent of in-breeding. but it is what it is, apple cant function differently (it just wont be apple we know).

Anonymous said...

Steve Jobs, please stop fucking with the developers.

Anonymous said...

Although I am not an iPhone user, podcast download support was one of the questions I asked when I was first considering buying an iPhone or an iPod Touch. I was surprised that Apple had not included support for this, and it appears that many others agree. I think that calling the iPhone a platform is completely wrong. It seems that Apple added app support to make money for themselves off the sale of the apps, not because they want to make a new platform. Otherwise, they would have absolutely no restrictions, just like other platforms. Anyhow, keep fighting if you have the strength.

PS - I am not an Apple hater, I just don't like some of their tactics from time to time.

Sush said...

This is just unbelievable. Leave your complaints here. Maybe if we all tell them they will give in.

http://www.apple.com/feedback/iphone.html

http://www.apple.com/feedback/ipodtouch.html

benlm said...

J., you're a funny guy. One of those people who is incapable of accepting facts that are staring you in the face.

There is no more "burden" for Apple to distribute a Podcasting app than any other type of app. Seriously. Believe it.

Apple has stated that the reason they rejected the app is because it duplicates existing functionality. Believe it.

There are other apps that are a threat to ATT: VOIP for both data usage and loss of call revenues and laptop tethering apps for data usage. They were both rejected or restricted in an open manner. VOIP apps are only allowed to use WIFI and not 3G. Tethering apps (which are really only useful with 3G) were disallowed.

There are other apps in the iphone that use large amounts of data ("burden" on ATT's network, not on Apple's) such as the streaming audio apps. These are allowed.

Why did Apple bother to support 3G if apps that use it are such a "burden"? If ATT has a problem with bandwidth, they can cap usage and charge overage.

If bandwidth was the real problem, Apple could simply restrict usage of the Podcast app to wifi like they do for VOIP apps.

There is no coverup. Believe what Apple says.

As for the "comment about Apple rejecting apps for Mac OS X was unintentionally amusing", you're wrong yet again. I was intentionally being facetious. Glad you enjoyed it.

Melissa & Russell said...

check out mobilecast for iphone.

Anonymous said...

At least proofread your post before you submit it.r

Marc Miles said...

It's all about patents that they are protecting. When it comes to podcast distribution they have some crazy patents in that field, part of the reason why I stopped my startup!

http://www.trumptheniche.com/2008/02/25/im-withdrawing-from-you-be-the-vc/

Anonymous said...

In the meantime... SELL IT IN CYDIA!

Anonymous said...

Can you say "Anti competitive practices lawsuit?"
This is why, even with App Store, I have, do, and always will jailbreak my iphone. It's MY choice if I want to duplicate functionality, not Apples. Someone seriously needs to educate these jerks with a nice successful class action lawsuit.

Anonymous said...

Hey... don't forget the kill-switch... they might just pull that lever

Anonymous said...

It's an outrage that Apple is playing these games. I used another podcast program before 2.x on my jailbroken iPhone and used it every day.
Now I bought podcaster and are able to use a functionality again, which should be a no-brainer on a phone like this.
Georg
Los Angeles,CA

Jon H said...

benlm wrote: "I knew there was something very wrong with my iPhone when the first thing it asked me to do was hook it up to iTunes. I bought a PHONE with data and wifi connectivity, not an iPod music player tied to one computer running iTunes."

What you bought was an iPhone. The iTunes link is explicit. Don't blame Apple for your abject failure to know what you were buying. That's just lazy whining.

Man the hell up and take responsibility for your actions.

gabu said...

Duplicating functionality, ha! Anything that makes my iPhone more independent from iTunes expands the functionality a lot.

Anonymous said...

noone makes you use an iPhone. I don't remember Apple ever saying that they will allow any application to run on the iPhone. The marketplace after all belongs to Apple and it is their call on what is allowed and what isn't. Plus it is kinda nice that they are trying to eliminate duplicates only if you start doing this you have to do it for every application and not just protect Apple's investments. Oh and as far as I know quite a few of the features of iTunes are copyrighted. Would you rather get sued for copyright infringement or be prohibeted from using the network ...

Anonymous said...

"I have emailed them back to find out what I must do in order for the app to be approved."

Might I suggest that the first thing you need to do is not embarass them in a public blog post before you hear back from them.

Whoops!

What I would do if I were them is clarify the standards to that this would not happen again, but at the same time ban you from the iPhone App Store for life. This is because I'm a bit of an asshole, but you need to remember that Steve Jobs is also.

erlehmann said...

Have you considered developing for alternative platforms like Openmoko ?

Anonymous said...

Android Android, Android.

We should consider ourselves lucky that apple has not dominated the PC arena in the way they are dominating handhelds / music players. Their control of both the hardware and software would make Steve Ballmer look like Richard Stallman.

The Audio Cartel said...

Andriod?

is a joke until it's out in the wild and proven. If another company can put together a phone like apple can (and don't tell me the voyager is an iphone, cause it's CLEARLY not) then your out of luck.

I don't think that it's that cool he got denied but i don't see how any of you have a say in it. You bought an iphone not for the unreleased apps it could have...


there could be other forces at play as well.

The only shame in the matter is

1- the bunch of retards who think it's cut and dry apple wants more money (although it's always about money, it's never that dry) (that accounts for 99% of the ppl on this thread by the way)

2- Apple is very secretive about stuff, which leads people to assume the worst.

of course, you could always just, not buy one. Or you could even buy it an jailbreak it.

Or you could sit here and bitch cause that's really how sad your lives are

/angry tech reader

Anonymous said...

Apple have started to become more Microsoft than M$ themselves.

They sucker you into buying an overpriced poser phone that has problems connecting to the phone network (oops) then screw you around with it.

Oh dear. How sad. Never Mind.

FCUKApple said...

It was only the customers that were stupid and now, budding developers that are stupid. Every now and then we hear about someone getting rich by selling an app. on the store. People who bought the iPhone and all the rest of the handheld family have simply made Apple shareholders richer. First there is an NDA, then, there is a compulsory cut from sales proceed, then, there is the ever so fishy approval (or disapproval in this case). Come on people, stop hating M$ for ripping your $$$s!!! I bought a 4th Gen iPod and I refuse to buy any handheld from them, period.

tuxslayer said...

Look to this from the other side.

For example, there are Nokia maemo platform. It have applications garage and repository (analog of Apple app store). This repository contains a whole lot of apps with similar functionality (just as on any other linux platform). There are dousens of ftp clients, hundreds of media players etc.

It is a mess for the the normal user (not a mobile geek) to make use of such repository. All the software having similar functionality has its own bugs and problems.

Apple just want to protect a user from such chaos.

Think about this.

benlm said...

jon wrote What you bought was an iPhone. The iTunes link is explicit. Don't blame Apple for your abject failure to know what you were buying. That's just lazy whining.

Man the hell up and take responsibility for your actions.


The iTunes link is explicit when you turn on the phone and it doesn't work. I don't want a phone that is so dependent on a computer to function properly. It might work for people that don't get out of their mother's basement or leave their office much but for someone on the road a lot, it's not very convenient.

As for taking responsibility (Jon's mindless spouting of catchphrases), I returned the phone. No problem. They do take them back if you are not happy with them.

JC said...

Sue them!

Michael Gannotti said...

and people are supposed by this why? Apple is the single most closed and controlling company in the tech world. As much as people like to attack Microsoft they ought to take a real (no rose colored lenses) look at Apple and 'ol Steve J. There are pleanty of other platforms far more open out there, yes even including Microsoft's own. Write up that app as an XNA 3.0 and push it out. Then it can run on Zune, Xbox 360, and PC. :-)
Apple isnt going to let anythiing touch iTunes. Without they go back to being a marginalized niche player.

J.D said...

Just a heads up that I blogged about this today on ZDNet:
http://blogs.zdnet.com/Apple/?p=2271

Are you limited to 100 Ad Hoc builds? What then? Will you distribute a version for Cydia/Installer.app and the Jailbreak community?

FIGHT THE POWER!
- Jason

Almerica said...

I am selling the app. sorry about semantics but I called it a donation because that's how I always got money from users.

Anonymous said...

Absolute B.S. ...Who at Apple thinks hiring these red-tape beaurocratic a**holes that reject apps is going to do anything positive to help Apple in their battle to win the hand-held market?

Tech1: ....Oh, what's your job?
Jerk1: I reject Applications for the iPhone.
Tech1: Oh. Did you go to college for that?

If Apple doesn't think people are watching, they're dead wrong. Every day I talk to people saying that they won't get an iPhone, no matter how cool it is, because of Apple's track record as a closed platform. They pretty much know they can wait until Blackberry, or Windows CE supports a decent touch screen, and then they'll have the prefered developer platform, on their choice of Wireless network.

Someone needs to "out" these Application Rejecters at Apple. I want pictures of these douchebags circling round the internet.

stan said...

Guess why i'll never ever purchase any of the iThings™®© made by Apple™®©...

Claus said...

What makes it so very sad is that your programme would have been precisely the reason for me to buy a iPod Touch.
I constantly run out of podcasts while away from home and would love a feature, that would allow me to update them as soon as I hit another WiFi hotspot.
Since I am not allowed to install iTunes on my company laptop this would have been a fabulous feature for me.
I wonder why Apple doesn't do it themselves, but that's alright, that's what applications are for... unless, you are Apple and you don't want others to do what you don't want to do...

Anonymous said...

In Europe, phones usually come with a Carrier customized firmware, slightly different than the original firmware from the phone manufacturer.

Guess what: in customized versions applications such as RSS feed/Podcaast are removed !

I experienced that myself on my previous phone. A nice HSDPA SonyEricsson with Vodafone firmware, cracked it to SonyEricsson original firmware and found a nice podcast application.

Operators even remove the option to send a picture through e-mail, you have to send it through MMS in customized FW, which costs you much more. On the Original FW, this is allowed of course.

So for me there is absolutely no doubt: just like tethering, over the air podcasting is an application that operators don't want to hear about, and that's most certainly why Apple is banning Podcaster.

Anonymous said...

And they said MS was evil?....

Anonymous said...

I'm amazed there is actually people defending this.

1/ Whether it is a "burden" on the network or not is not up to Apple to decide. We pay for the traffic and whether we consume the bandwidth by downloading an podcast or by surfing the web or by sending images to friends or by using IM on the phone or any other way, that must be up to the user to decide.

other phones have podcast-functionality so why should the iPhone not have it?

To me it also would be an excellent addition to my iPod Touch as i often find myself not having time to sync up the latest podscasts that I (for free) subscribe too. Being able to hook uip to a open Wifi-spot and get the latest podcast would be great.

2/ Just becasue Apple can do something does not meen we have to just accept it. True, you can always just dump the phone/iPod but how can things get better if we do not complain?

But hey, its Apple. They can do whatever they want and their userbase still will see them as the second coming of Messiah.

Jon Roig said...

You know what's hilarious?

.... Did any of these blogger folks actually contact Apple for comment?

Damon Cooper said...

I've purchased, am using POodcaster and I LOVE it. I've also blogged about this sad story here with some screenshouts:

http://www.dcooper.org

Damon

Almerica said...

You can watch an installation video at http://code.google.com/p/nativepodcaster/wiki/InstallingNativePodcastAdHocEdit

Gagan said...

This is completely lame. I have got an iPod Touch, and I was hoping to subscribe to my usual set of podcasts that I listen to regularly. Eagerly, I updated the iPod software to the latest version and also downloaded the new version of iTunes - alert for which kept popping up.

And behold! Just because I am in India, the Indian iTunes Store does not have the podcast directory access, which is weird because I could subscribe and add podcasts to my iTunes app earlier. So, one of the major reasons for getting the new iPod is a big disappointment. I guess an application like Podcaster will be a big help in such cases.

For once, Apple did go in the opposite direction in terms of fulfilling customer expectations.

Anonymous said...

Apple was right to reject the app. They were wrong to site the wrong reason. The truth is Apple is more than the iPhone and iTouch. They are a business and that business includes iTunes. Duplicating a calculator doesn't cost them money. Asking them to sell your product in their online business to compete against a part of their business that earns them money is stupid. I doubt that if you make the application and post it somewhere else they would complain - just don't ask them to make it easy for you to compete with them.

Anonymous said...

You buy into proprietary hardware and non-Free software, you get screwed. Don't complain about it -- just quietly pick up and walk out the door. Reject Apple and go invest your time into making GPL'ed software better and more prevalent.

Almerica said...

And that is exactly what I am doing. I have tried to get an app in the app store. I failed. Now I am moving on.

Aaron said...

The way to respond to this is put it out as a jailbreak app. I know you want to make money from it, and since apple has blocked you from it, why hold it back? You can ask for donations and I certainly would donate to have that functionality on my ipod touch. Quit waiting for apple to come to their senses and release this bad boy to the world!

Victoria French said...

I'm shopping for an attorney right now to file litigation against apple on illegal NDA's and Monopolistic practices on the iPhone. Another one I am filing is as an owner of an iPhone (I do not lease, rent or license it), Apple does not have the authority (already a precedence on this) to stop me from running any software on my phone.

Contact me if you want to join. I am seeking class status.

Maciek said...

Well Mr. Alex...time to move on to Android. We need you there...

Rick said...

I bought this app and love it (still a few blips with certain video files not able to be played, but overall it's great). This is one of the apps I use daily. Sure, I could use the podcasts through iTunes, but then I have to sync, and honestly, I just don't need to do that daily.

Please port this app to Cydia, and just allow people to give you donations. Or, you could make it functional with a serial number (I've seen other Cydia apps do that).

I'm guessing with some of the changes coming up for Apple TV and such, that this is the exact thing that will soon be part of iTunes on the iPhone, and thus why it was denied. It's sad that Apple goes this way, and I understand it from a business model, but there has to be a balance between making money and customer service. I love Apple, but their customer service is going down the tube! They need to spend more time making sure they develop and release a good product (the iPhone is good, but the problems it has experienced have very much proven that Apple is now rushing out product, and they could do better).

weasel5i2 said...

You commenters who mention this "bandwidth issue" of the Podcaster app seem to forget one important thing: Apple is NOT the provider of your wireless service!! Your phone company is, and I'm sure they already have all sorts of boilerplate wording stating that the end-user is responsible for paying for any excess bandwidth usage (regardless of the application, and likely even referring to the OTA application download itself!)

So, this "uber-bandwidth" argument is irrelevant. That responsibility falls between the phone's owner and the phone's wireless provider.

Apple doesn't give a rat's posterior about how much data usage the subscriber uses! Why would they, other than protecting them from misplaced lawsuits by irate consumers with high data usage charges! It's up to the WIRELESS CARRIER to worry about network congestion, NOT APPLE.

Please, folks, think about these things before you post with an all-knowing attitude... "It's utterly obvious that your app wasn't approved because of the excessive bandwidth and storage requirements of downloading tons of podcasts."

...Why would Apple care? Again I must point out that they're not in the wireless provider business!

Tom said...

Quick question for you. I downloaded your app from Cydia this morning and wondered about a few features before I purchase.

First (and most importantly), when playing downloaded podcasts, it doesn't seem to play the next podcast once the previous one finishes. Can this be functionality be added? A few of my podcasts cut out commercials and are delivered in 10 or more parts. This means I'd have to fumble with my iphone while driving just to play through them all.

I had another question about downloading podcasts which is also an issue caused by many segments. Can you add a way to "check" all of the podcasts to download from the unplayed screen. It takes some time to select > download > back > figure which one you just did > repeat. It would be ideal if there was an option to download all new as well.

Thank for the consideration!

-Tom

Jack said...

Here's a clue:

http://www.macrumors.com/iphone/2008/10/28/over-the-air-podcast-downloading-in-firmware-2-2/

NhimBlog said...

Apple sucks ...

Jacob said...

nice post

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Web Designer said...

Yes, it is a little strange that they should decline just because the app is on the lines of another application. And more so when you are offering additional features.

Natural Stone said...

I guess it's always possible that Apple could roll this feature out but the fact of the matter is that it's not out currently. Don't deny my app because you might or might not make this feature.

Suparna said...

Really unbelievable. I'll never ever purchase an Apple products.

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