Mac developer and Panic luminary Steven Frank's public break-up with the iPhone over Apple's capricious App Store policy was one of the few so grounded in rationale and reason we couldn't discount it, and neither could Apple's Senior VP of Marketing, Phil Schiller.
While Schiller previously responded to Daring Fireball's John Gruber over concerns about the Ninjawords app, Schiller's response to Steve Frank was different in kind, if similar in sentiment:
I haven’t sought Phil’s explicit permission to republish the letter, so I won’t do so here. But to summarize, he said: “we’re listening to your feedback”. Not all of my suggested solutions were viable, he said, but they were taking it all in as they continue to evolve the app store.
He went on to say that the rumors of widespread e-book app rejection I’d heard were false — that specifically one e-book app had been rejected because it facilitated iPhone-to-iPhone sharing of (potentially copyrighted) books. But that otherwise, there was no sweeping ban on e-book readers.
First, it's interesting to see such high level and yet fairly intimate intervention by an Apple executive when it comes to the App Store. It's not an open letter by Steve Jobs -- it's something subtler, and yet seemingly targeted to engender the type of good will that could give Apple the time and good faith they need to fix the App Store approval process if -- and it's a huge if -- they truly take the time to fix it. And that's the fulcrum of actions and results upon which Schiller's intervention will ultimately succeed or fail.
Second, Steven Frank is now left to wonder whether to continue his boycott of the iPhone given the lack of those observable actions visible results, or to extend his hand back to Apple and give them that same second chance.
It will be interesting to see what happens next...