Popular Reddit App Apollo Pulled From App Store Over Push Notification Snafu [Update: Back in App Store]

Discussion in 'iOS Blog Discussion' started by MacRumors, Oct 29, 2018.

  1. MacRumors macrumors bot


    Apr 12, 2001

    Popular Reddit app Apollo was removed from the App Store this afternoon after developer Christian Selig released an update that adds push notifications as a premium feature, Selig explained on Reddit.

    After introducing the latest version of the Apollo app, which has a paid feature enabling push notifications, Apple informed Selig that he was in violation of rule 3.2.2 that prohibits apps from monetizing Push Notifications and other iPhone and iPad capabilities provided by the hardware or operating system. The email Selig received from Apple:
    Selig said that he's "quite confused" by Apple's decision, as he had worked with Apple on the implementation of the premium service after the app update was previously rejected for the same reason.

    For background, several weeks ago, Selig said that the 1.3 update of Apollo had been rejected by Apple because it included the in-app purchase for unlocking push notifications. Selig explained at the time that he needs to charge to add push notifications due to the server costs associated with implementing them.

    In an update earlier this month, Selig said he was able to develop a workaround with Apple by bundling the feature with other premium options like app theming and custom icons for an "Apollo Ultra" service, and the update was released on Saturday.

    It's not clear why Apple pulled the Apollo app after telling Selig that it was appropriate to implement push notifications as part of a paid bundle of features, but Apple has been known for making confusing App Store decisions in the past. It's likely the issue will be solved quickly, and Selig says he will keep Apollo customers updated on the status of the app.

    Update: Apollo is back in the iOS App Store and the app will be able to keep the Apollo Ultra in-app purchase option with push notifications as a paid feature.

    Article Link: Popular Reddit App Apollo Pulled From App Store Over Push Notification Snafu [Update: Back in App Store]
  2. Sheza macrumors 68000


    Aug 14, 2010
    Cambridge, UK
    Typical example of some bozo in the App Store review team not communicating with his colleagues.
  3. AtomicDusk macrumors member


    Jul 24, 2014
    San Diego
    Well, maybe it played out the way Selig states, maybe it didn't and when he worked with Apple on the "premium service" he didn't disclose he would be making users pay for notifications.

    Too much he said, she said.

    Regardless, this is a perfect example of the App Store being Apple's distribution platform. They make the rules, they enforce the rules.
  4. macduke macrumors G3


    Jun 27, 2007
    Central U.S.
    I mean, I get this for local push, but for server push? That stuff costs money and is a PITA if you try to roll your own. Trust me.

    By doing this Apple is basically telling developers "Host it for free and make up for it by ramming ads down people's throats while selling their private information."

    This is not good for consumers.
  5. titans1127 macrumors 6502a

    Mar 10, 2009
    Used to love Apollo until I realized that you have to pay just to create an actual post from the app. I can under stand charging for the push notifications because of the need to maintain a server but such a basic feature should be free.
  6. CMoore515 macrumors regular

    Sep 27, 2015
    Des Moines, IA
    Love Apollo! Hope Christian gets it sorted out soon.
  7. The Chosen One macrumors member

    Dec 15, 2015
  8. Abazigal macrumors G4


    Jul 18, 2011
    Even if the feature gets pulled, I have no regrets paying $20 upfront. Hope the developer gets the matter sorted out quickly. The longer it drags, the more stressful it is on him, and that’s never cool.
  9. Planey28 macrumors 6502

    Jul 10, 2010
    Manchester, UK
    Sorry but I don’t agree. It’s either that or the app costs money upfront.

    Development is work. People need to eat.

    A large part of the app works fine without paying a single penny.

    What’s more the dev of Apollo is very transparent and interactive with the users of his app. Think it’s only fair for the amount of work he puts in that you pay a tiny tiny fee to use everything.
  10. madKIR macrumors 6502a

    Feb 2, 2010
    “...but Apple has been known for making confusing App Store decisions in the past.“
    I’d say not only in regards to App Store!
  11. anshuvorty macrumors 6502a


    Sep 1, 2010
    California, USA
    Miscommunication between different parts of Apple and the App is back on the App Store. Can we please update this article? Here is the proof from the /r/apolloapp subreddit:

  12. Diorama macrumors 6502a

    Oct 6, 2017
    Selig has been very very open from the beginning about what demands Apple have made, when they have made them, how they were worded, and how they worked together on an agreeable solution.
    Apple then approved the reworked app.
    They then unapproved it after putting it up.
    --- Post Merged, Oct 29, 2018 ---
    So what’s your job then? I assume you do it for free, right? Otherwise you are a lazy scab, stealing people’s money.

    He could make the app cost one dollar, instead the app is free with one feature costing the admission price instead.
  13. adamjackson macrumors 68000

    Jul 9, 2008
    Like Twitter, the majority of Reddit's users don't post to Reddit. They upvote and sometimes comment. By charging for something the minority of users do, he can use those users which are, to the reddit community, power users to fund the development of Apollo which is for most people free to use at least in their eyes.
  14. Dwalls90 macrumors 601


    Feb 5, 2009
    Apollo is a GREAT app. Probably one of the most (if not the most) used app on my iPhone!
  15. BaccaBossMC macrumors regular


    Jul 8, 2016
    Nursing Home of the U.S.
    If 3.2.2 prevents apps from monetizing hardware and software abilities built into the device, then YouTube should be removed for monetizing PictureInPicture and background media playing.
  16. fairuz macrumors 68000


    Aug 27, 2017
    Silicon Valley
    It's not exactly monetizing the device's push notification system. It's monetizing his servers that send out the push requests. Apple should be a bit clearer. But it's reasonable that they disallow that too.
    --- Post Merged, Oct 29, 2018 ---
    I agree, it's super cheesy how they tried to monetize YouTube like that. I refuse to buy it out of principle. I can just leave my phone on the YouTube webpage, not gonna pay for it.
  17. PickUrPoison macrumors 68030

    Sep 12, 2017
    Sunnyvale, CA
    Typical left hand/right hand situation. Not surprising it was resolved quickly as predicted in the article.

    It would be nice if the App Store contacts Selig had been working with had the ability to ”capture” his update submission, which almost certainly was routed to/reviewed/rejected by someone unfamiliar with the work-out agreement.
  18. zantafio macrumors regular

    Apr 8, 2014
    kind of a pointlesss rule if all it takes is to bundle
  19. PowerBook-G5 macrumors 65816


    Jul 30, 2013
    The United States of America
    Also, I'm pretty sure that users who don't purchase Apollo Pro can still post to help-subreddits, such as those pertaining to suicide and depression. The developer is definitely a good guy.
  20. coolfactor macrumors 68040

    Jul 29, 2002
    Vancouver, BC CANADA
    I agree that developers should have the option of monetizing features that cost them extra money. That's just logical. When push notifications are not used at all, it doesn't cost Apple anything. Yet in-app purchases put 30% into Apple's pocket, so this is good for Apple, too... revenue aligned with resource usage.
    --- Post Merged, Oct 29, 2018 ---
    Agreed. There should not be rules around monetizing built-in features, especially if they cost developers extra money to support. What should always be disallowed is developers _bypassing_ system-provided features. For example, developers should not be allowed to implement their own notification system.
  21. johannnn macrumors 65816


    Nov 20, 2009
    What server cost? Reddit’s own servers? His own servers? I guess I don’t really understand how this works.
  22. adammusic macrumors 6502


    Jun 6, 2007
    Wait what?
    I don’t pay anything to post.
    Please explain...
  23. titans1127 macrumors 6502a

    Mar 10, 2009
    It's been a few months since I have used the app but you are able to leave comments on existing posts or reply to communes comment but you can not create you own post in a sub-reddit without donating first.
  24. LosLoco macrumors member

    Nov 28, 2012
    There's two different ways of having notifications.

    One where your phone checks in at a set interval for new notifications. These are "free", as it's just your device checking in at e.g. Reddit's servers. But it uses a small amount of battery each time, which is why the interval is often set a bit longer.

    The other is having a server doing the check at much shorter intervals and sending a push notification to your phone the second a notification from e.g. Reddit is there. The upside here is no battery used on your phone and instant notifications, but it requires a dedicated server, which costs money to both buy and keep going.

    That's where the 'struggle' has been for the developer and why he's introduced a second paid plan for push notifications. Initially push notifications was the only benefit, but Apple rejected it, and they worked together to find a plan, that Apple could agree to, so now the second paid plan (Ultra) also includes stuff like theming of the apps.

    This got accepted by Apple, but obviously somebody didn't get the memo and pulled it, even though it had been thoroughly vetted (which is why it is up again) :)
  25. T5BRICK macrumors G3


    Aug 3, 2006
    Glad this has been resolved. I wouldn’t use Reddit nearly as much as I do if Apollo didn’t exist. I paid for pro shortly after downloading the app and later “tipped” the developer because it’s just so well made. I’ll be paying for Apollo Ultra as well; it’s worth it to me.

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