Short story: GP Apps made iVidCam, a video recording app. Apple rejected it for using undocumented APIs. The developers appealed on the grounds that other camera-related apps also use undocumented APIs and demanded Apple allow it in, and let them sell it for 2 months before Apple released their own video recording functionality, as anticipated for WWDC 2009. Apple thanked them for pointing out other API violators, said they would investigate, and let the rejection stand.
Long story, including personal response from Apple VP of marketing, Phil Schiller: See GPApps.com.
It's hard not to sympathize with GP Apps given the amount of hard work and obvious passion they've put into iVidCam. They've made 680(!) other apps already and had them approved in the App Store.
It's hard to sympathize with Apple, whose App Store approval policies remain opaque and seemingly capricious to the point we're amazed developers have any hair left.
But here's the thing: the app is in clear violation of App Store policy. If Apple keeps the other violating apps in the store, GP Apps could clearly argue fairness, but if Apple investigates and removes the other apps, that's a done deal. Basing significant development resources on the shaky foundation of others getting away with something is harder to sympathize with. It's more of a gamble than an investment.
In other words, if several people jaywalk in front of us, and we get caught, we're still getting the ticket. And demanding that the cop not give us the ticket, and give us two months of unmolested jaywalking privileges on top of it... Well, we admire the hutzpah, but when the cop's name is Apple, we don't see it getting us too far.
Still, we wish GP Apps good luck. If those APIs are made public (as happened with the undocumented API's Google was using), and Apple restricts their built-in video functionality to third generation hardware, we expect it will iVidCam may still appeal to a lot of iPhone 2G and iPhone 3G owners.
What do you think?