Let me tell you about my troubles getting my iPhone App into the App Store.  Now I don't know if these issues are because I called out those in the App store a "few" times on my show for approving apps that promoted killing babies, killing your classmates or getting stoned.  Or the times I called them out for not approving one of many different apps they should have (Google Voice, SpoofApp, Podcaster).  Again I don't know that this was them being vengeful or just the normal path people have to take to get approved. But I know which way I am leaning right now.

June 3rd 2009:
It all started back with the submission on June 3rd of the Today in iPhone App.  Which offers up instant access to all the back episodes of the Today in iPhone Podcast - plus bonus content to those with the app. Plus a bunch of other things which are meaningless to mention until the app gets approved. 

June 20th 2009:
The first rejection came on June 20th.  Reason for the rejection was:

Your application, Today in iPhone App, cannot be posted to the iTunes App Store because of iPhone usage in your product name.  We want to remind you of the importance of following Apple's posted Guidelines for Using Apple's Trademarks and Copyrights: http://www.apple.com/legal/trademark/guidelinesfor3rdparties.html

Of course at the time - Apple themselves had just had their iPhone Trademark Rejected again by the USPTO.  See this blog post link for more info on that -  Update on Apple's Futile attempt at trademarking the name - iPhone

We changed the name to the Tii App and resubmitted.  After all they said it was an issue with the name and per their instructions we changed the name to remove "iPhone" - you know that name they had no legal right to - but hey it is their store and we will play by their rules.  Which they said are:

For example, the following are acceptable:
GreatApp - with tagline "for iPhone"
GreatApp - with tagline "iPhone edition"
GreatApp - with tagline "iPhone version"

The following are not acceptable:
iPhone GreatApp
iPhoneGreatApp
GreatiPhoneApp

So I guess the big issue was I used the word "in" instead of "for"  but splitting hairs here so lets move on.

July 2nd 2009:
Then on July 2nd we got our second rejection of the App.  

Your application, Tii Podcast App, cannot be posted to the iTunes App Store because of iPhone usage in your product name.  We want to remind you of the importance of following Apple's posted Guidelines for Using Apple's Trademarks and Copyrights:

Same as before - WTF we thought.  They included a screen shoot





Now we had changed the icon image to remove the word iPhone - but we had not changed the loader image - which still said Today in iPhone.  After all their original rejection said it was an issue with the App Name - not anything to do with loader images.  Again forget the fact they don't have legal rights to the name iPhone.  So we changed the loader image and again resubmitted.  

July 13th 2009:
Then comes the July 13th rejection.  

Your application, Tii Podcast App, cannot be posted to the App Store at this time because it does not achieve the core functionality described in your marketing materials, or release notes.  Applications must adhere to the iPhone Human Interface Guidelines as outlined in the iPhone Developer Program License Agreement section 3.3.5.

When the device has a cellular network connection via Edge or 3G, the application displays a message stating that internet access is required, as seen in the attached screenshot. This behavior may lead to user confusion. Note that the application works properly with a Wi-Fi connection. This review was conducted on iPhone 3G running iPhone OS 3.0.

This was a big WTF moment - until we realized this time Apple just screwed up in their testing and did not actually have a good cell connection.  Blame AT&T on this one also, as the App works great over 3G and edge if you have a 3G and Edge data connection - which clearly they did not have when they tested the app.  But you know they are under a lot of pressure to get lots of apps approved and don't have time to see if the issue is on their end or ours.  So we just re-submitted the app with no changes. A common thing to do with the App store I have been told by other developers, when you feel the issue is on Apples side.  Also there was no longer any issues with the Trademark BS - so that was a positive.  

July 17th 2009:
Then on July 17th (Quick Turnaround) we get the following:

Your application, Tii Podcast App, cannot be posted to the iTunes App Store because of iPhone usage in your product name.  We want to remind you of the importance of following Apple's posted Guidelines for Using Apple's Trademarks and Copyrights:

This time they were pinging us for the use of the phrase "Today in iPhone" that is in the title of the episode in the RSS feed.





At this point I was really feeling like they were just Fraking with me.  But they are the eight thousand pound gorilla and we sucked it up and created a new feed just for the App - where we removed "Today in iPhone" from all the episodes and the title in the feed.  Even in the descriptions for the episodes.  And once again we resubmitted.  

August 4th 2009:
Then on August 4th came this reply:

Thank you for submitting Tii Podcast App to the App Store. We've reviewed Tii Podcast App and determined that we cannot post this version of your iPhone application to the App Store at this time because it is not appropriately rated. Our review indicates that the application content is not consistent with the current rating. Tii Podcast App allows unfiltered access to the internet, where content with mature or suggestive themes can be accessed. Applications must be rated accordingly for the highest level of content that the user is able to access.

See one of the features in the App is a self enclosed browser for visiting my website. And I put in an App Age rating of 4+.  Actually have had 5 year olds call into the show.  I keep my show and website as clean as possible (This is true back to my Podcast411 days).  I beep out every word your Pastor would not use and a few he / she does.  I am as conservative as it comes with the language - sans the borrowing of the word Frak from BSG - But that is usually reserved to talk about Apple or AT&T.  But the reasoning for the rejection is that my App accesses outside content - Yes My outside content.  Which I make sure is clean - There is no way to type in a URL on the browser in the App. 

Apple has pushed others into changing their App to a 17+ rating and I don't want to make this a 17+ app.  So we just resubmitted the App with a 9+ rating.  Next will be 12+ - Which is the same rating as a certain tech Podcast App where they have heavy Alcohol  consumption.  Not going to name names here - we could do a whole post on the inconsistencies of the App store approvals - and many others have.  But if that App is approved at 12+ and you watch / listen to that podcast.  There is no way our App should not be approved at 4+ or now 9+.

In closing this has been a long and very frustrating process and when I talk to developers (which I do a lot of) I hear similar stories of frustration.   I have said it many times on the show - Apple needs to get better control of their App store approval process.  And now having walked the mile+ in the shoes of those developers that vent to me I am even more convinced of that.

I will update this post with all the future reasons for rejection that Apple can think of for my App.
Category:breaking news -- posted at: 2:02pm EST
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