Joe Hewitt, the developer who saw the Facebook App for iPhone and iPod touch to version 3.0, and the cusp of 3.1 (which promised/threatened push notifications), has thrown us the Twitter-equivalent of a curve-ball:
Time for me to try something new. I've handed the Facebook iPhone app off to another engineer, and I'm onto a new project.
Just to be clear, he's staying with Facebook, just no longer working on their iPhone app. Does it have anything to do with his dissatisfaction with the iTunes App Store approval process?
According to the quote he gave TechCrunch, it did:
My decision to stop iPhone development has had everything to do with Apple’s policies. I respect their right to manage their platform however they want, however I am philosophically opposed to the existence of their review process. I am very concerned that they are setting a horrible precedent for other software platforms, and soon gatekeepers will start infesting the lives of every software developer.
(Hit the link above to read the rest of it). Some are no doubt happy to see such a high profile developer quit the App Store over the review process. Hey, we've complained about it quite a bit as well. Still, with that process Hewitt was able to give us a pretty darn good app up to this point. Was it frustrating? No doubt it was, but many of us face frustrations on the job. The web is free, but it's also often far from a premium user experience. Apple has thus far decided managing the App Store is, in their opinion, the best way to ensure their users' experience (not just their noisy tech-blogging-and-commenting users' experience, but the kids and moms and casual users as well). That the implementation remains capricious is another matter -- one they need to be fixed and now. That the App Store should by all divine right and reason be as open as web development, however, is just another opinion, another option, and certainly not any more right or reasonable "just because".
In any event, on behalf of TiPb, we thank you, Joe for all your hard work and the awesome app you've given us to date, and wish you well on your future endeavors.
And to the new developer, here's wishing you the best, and the best for future versions of the Facebook app as well!
[Thanks to everyone who sent this in!]