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Apple Rejects 'Breaking' App Due to One Small Mention of Android in a Screenshot

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Apr 12, 2001
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News alert app Breaking [Direct Link], which feeds topical news stories via a widget into the Today portion of the Notification Center, has faced a bit of blowback from Apple due to the mention of the term "Android" within a screenshot on the app's store page (via iPhoneHacks).

The app was denied its newest update, version 1.3, due to the Android mishap, which is only mentioned within the screenshots for the app and not anywhere in its actual description. As a few fellow app developers voiced on Twitter, the screenshot in question doesn't overtly promote the rival's brand, either.
Wow Breaking 1.3 rejected by Apple because one of the screenshots has a news item with the word 'Android' in it # pic.twitter.com/8gnc9S5UPa - Michael Flarup (@flarup) May 20, 2015
A few similar stories have emerged so far this year, including a copyright issue Apple had with GIF curating app GIF Finder and creator Matt Cheetham's heavy usage of copyrighted characters, despite his adherence to the individual terms of service for both Tumblr and Imgur. Prior to the Apple Watch launch, the Cupertino company also rejected boating app SeaNav US for citing Pebble support in its App Store description.

While the future of both apps was initially foreboding, both GIF Finder and SeaNav US returned to the App Store, with developer Cheetham documenting in detail his experience with facing Apple's app review board. Today's rejection of Breaking lies in a similar rejection field compared with SeaNav US, both appearing to violate App Store review guideline 3.1, which prohibits the mentioning of competing platforms.

Most developers haven't faced such strict stonewalling on the issue before, which made SeaNav US' rejection - due to the use of "Pebble" - a day before the Apple Watch launch particularly interesting. Today's rejection of Breaking appears to be a bit of a fluke, but no doubt Apple will allow the app's 1.3 update once the particular screenshot in question is removed.

Article Link: Apple Rejects 'Breaking' App Due to One Small Mention of Android in a Screenshot
 
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cmChimera

macrumors 601
Feb 12, 2010
4,001
2,892
Well Apple is pretty clear about this. Not a hard problem to fix for the developer.
 
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starnox

macrumors 6502
Apr 15, 2005
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I had an app rejected by Apple yesterday because in the companies terms of service they mentioned Android... I mean come on.
 
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hobspain

macrumors regular
Mar 29, 2010
115
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Suspicious

I have trouble thinking this is accidental but a well crafted strategy. If it passes, the good, if it doesn't pass, the better: we publicise it and get exposure.
 
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gibbz

macrumors 68030
May 31, 2007
2,696
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Petty for Apple to do this? Yes.

Petty for developers to complain on twitter instead of just changing the screenshot? Yes.
 
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usarioclave

macrumors 65816
Sep 26, 2003
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Nobody cares, but free PR is free PR. Anything to get over the noise is good.

"Apple rejected my app because it sucks" won't get you a lot of business.
 
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MarximusMG

macrumors 6502a
Jan 21, 2009
699
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Denver
Way to be reasonable, Apple.

Also, maybe I just missed it, but where's the proof that this was the specific reason the update was rejected?
 
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Master Atrus

macrumors regular
Oct 17, 2003
128
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People Forget

I find this to be really petty on the part of Apple, but it is easy to forget that from a legal standpoint, if Apple isn't consistent it will lose the ability to enforce that section of the agreement.

Legal enforcement and protection means the company has to follow its policies / procedures all the time or risk having a developer say "so and so did it and you didn't say anything" which is the legal equivalent of "look over there".
 
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Anonymous Freak

macrumors 603
Dec 12, 2002
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Well Apple is pretty clear about this. Not a hard problem to fix for the developer.

While I think it's dumb, it is somewhat understandable for an app that has no part of it that deals with cross-platform functionality to not mention other platforms.

But for apps whose primary purpose includes cross-platform functionality (SeaNav's support of Pebble watch in addition to Apple Watch,) it is asinine. I wonder if they'll disallow the actual Pebble app when it next updates?
 
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kk1ro

macrumors regular
Jan 31, 2008
171
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Now that the Play Store has a review process that's similar to the App Store's, I'm seriously tempted to submit an application with references to iOS and WP8, in order to see if this is really an issue of Apple being too controlling, or if it's a generalised thing.
 
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Matthew Yohe

macrumors 68020
Oct 12, 2006
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Makes this less surprising when you think about it and realize that Apple automates this process and they simply have a robot OCR'ing and flagging these images.
 
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Mclovincr

macrumors newbie
May 18, 2015
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I do believe it's very clear in their policy. Just take a second to ensure the screenshots that you are sending to Apple doesn't show anything from another company. At least from my POV it's common sense.
 
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Andy-V

macrumors 6502
Oct 1, 2007
401
399
Petty for Apple to do this? Yes.

Petty for developers to complain on twitter instead of just changing the screenshot? Yes.

Not really petty of the developer. These kinds of tweets and posts have absolutely led to Apple changing and improving their policies in the past.
 
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Watabou

macrumors 68040
Feb 10, 2008
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United States
This is one of the terms you have to agree to when you sign up for a developer account.

Why didn't they complain about this then? :rolleyes:
 
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nagromme

macrumors G5
May 2, 2002
12,546
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Is the rule against mentioning Android in the App Store a shock? Old news.

Is it a shock that the rule makes no exception for a "small" mention?

None of it seems shocking to me. An unnecessary rule but no great burden at all. And very easy for the developer to fix.

Kudos to the developer getting some free publicity, though!
 
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Kaibelf

Suspended
Apr 29, 2009
2,445
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Silicon Valley, CA
What's even more sad is how people are defending Apple in this thread.

Why? Because we expect people to abide by the agreements they make? Sorry, a deal is a deal, and a contract is a contract. If you can't follow it, don't sign it, and if you sign it, don't whine when you're expected to abide by it. That's not specific to Apple.
 
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c1phers

macrumors regular
Oct 27, 2011
207
34
I don't blame Apple for trying to protect themselves from Copywrite infringement. Sure it should fall on the developer but a lawyer would try to fight that stating Apple should have been more diligent about removing Copywrite material and protecting other company's IP.

The developer should just change the screenshot and resubmit. More time is being wasted in complaining about this than getting his app approved.
 
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