Steve Jobs Reportedly Intervenes in iPhone Application Approval


macrumors bot
Original poster
Apr 12, 2001

Ars Technica reported yesterday on the approval of Knocking Live Video [App Store, Free], which was notable for the apparent personal intervention of Apple CEO Steve Jobs after the iPhone-to-iPhone video streaming application was initially denied.

Jobs' interest in the case appears to have been sparked by an e-mail sent to him by the developer after the application was rejected for relying on private programming functions that are prohibited by Apple's iPhone developer agreement. In the e-mail, the developer argued his case by noting the functionality of the application and the fact that other applications using the same functions had previously been approved, and expanded his message to include the frustrations of many developers with the App Store review process.
Meehan ended up composing a passionate plea to Apple's CEO, explaining he has been frustrated and disheartened with the app approval process, which often leaves developers wondering and waiting with little or no response from Apple about any potential problems. He pointed out that there are other apps that had been approved using the same private API call -- though it was prior to Apple's suspected use of automated analysis software that can comb through code and spot references to unapproved APIs. Meehan even "humbly" requested that Jobs himself review a demo of the app and reconsider it for approval.
Less than 48 hours later, the developer received a call from an Apple executive to discuss the situation and note that a decision to revisit the application's status came "directly from the top", suggesting that Steve Jobs himself had become involved. Within three hours of the executive's phone call, Knocking Live Video had been approved for sale in the App Store.

Apple has received a significant amount of criticism over its App Store review policies, and a number of high-profile developers have recently quit iPhone development in frustration. For its part, Apple has started to become more vocal about its vision for the review process, with senior vice president Phil Schiller recently going public to defend the process as the company also strives to continue improving it.

Article Link: Steve Jobs Reportedly Intervenes in iPhone Application Approval


macrumors 603
You know what would solve this in more than half the cases? Apple could have an API approval process since some functionality can only be added with customized API's. Apple's concern for security and platform stability and resource usage is real and actually justifiable. Some API's have resource hog potential that even wit it on the list specific applications might still need case by case approval with guidance provided by Apple what likely approaches would result in non-approval. The main thing developers object to is laboring only to be rejected on release.

The procedures they have put in place since iPhone deployment have resulted in a diverse and robust initial ecosystem. It's time to expand the pool a bit, carefully yes, but even a few API additions will greatly widen the scope of applications iPhone OS can perform at little cost to Apple. Some provision for API cross-licensing may be needed as well, in the stock developer contract.

Steve, put your toe in the water on this slowly but you will be rewarded with the loyalty and innovation of your developers. iPhone OS has legs.



Staff member
Sep 2, 2004
The Centennial State
So, use of private APIs is fair-game now? If you get rejected, you can just get Steve Jobs to step in on your behalf?


macrumors 68000
Sep 21, 2009
Have to admit, I'm surprised that an email to Steve Jobs would even be looked at! You don't usually find CEOs or executives at that level worrying or concerned about developers at all.

Unspoken Demise

macrumors 68040
Apr 16, 2009
Have to admit, I'm surprised that an email to Steve Jobs would even be looked at! You don't usually find CEOs or executives at that level worrying or concerned about developers at all.
They get 30% of App profits (mind you, this does not apply here, seeing as it is a free app), so naturally Apple and Steve care. But this level of caring, over a free app, is interesting.


macrumors 6502a
Jul 17, 2008
Seattle, WA
Cool for him, crappy for all other developers who stay within the rules that they agreed to when signing up for the SDK.

If they are just going to circumvent the rules, then what's the point.


macrumors regular
Aug 27, 2009
Can I ask Steve to approve background execution for music applications like Spotify? I have no use whatever for the iPod applicatiion on my iPhone so what do you think Steve, can I run Spotify in the background instead of the useless built-in app?


macrumors 601
Aug 19, 2003
Have to admit, I'm surprised that an email to Steve Jobs would even be looked at! You don't usually find CEOs or executives at that level worrying or concerned about developers at all.
It’s well known that Jobs reads his e-mail. In some cases, he even personally replies. I’ve personally had three separate problems addressed successfully by e-mailing Jobs. Although I would only recommend it for the most desperate of cases.

My cases were fairly desperate.

- The first issue was my account was corrupted on .Mac’s servers (MobileMe has since replaced .Mac). At the time, you only could interface with .Mac support through web forms and e-mail (similar to the iTunes Store now). I exchanged roughly 20 e-mails with different .Mac representatives with the vast majority of their replies being copied directly from the Apple knowledge base. Very frustrating. I e-mailed Jobs and a .Mac engineer had my account restored and working properly within just a few hours after two weeks of hassling back and forth with Web support.

- The second issue was the iPod replacement part web page was down for a week before anyone noticed. It was an obscure certificate error when you tried to checkout. I tried e-mailing and even called AppleCare to alert them. However, no one bothered to fix it. I e-mailed Jobs and it was fixed within 24 hours and I received a phone call from an corporate relations representative thanking me for letting them know.

- The third issue was with the Apple Store. I pre-ordered 10.5 Leopard only to have the disc arrive scratched and unusable. I called the Apple Store six times trying to get a return/replacement order created. Each time, I was assured a replacement order would be sent via USPS. After a month, I e-mailed Jobs and I had Leopard the next day. They also refunded me the $129+ for my 10.5 order and sent me a $100 gift card.

So needless to say, it works.


macrumors G4
Jun 27, 2007
Central U.S.
Have to admit, I'm surprised that an email to Steve Jobs would even be looked at! You don't usually find CEOs or executives at that level worrying or concerned about developers at all.
Actually, Steve Jobs replied to one of my emails once with one of his famously short replies. It wasn't sent from his iPhone though. It was after 2.0 came out and the apps / media were disappearing. I was one of the more vocal members of the forum at the time who had this problem. He put me in touch with the manager of iTunes Customer Experience Daniel Erlewine and they ended up discovering a bug in iTunes that was corrupting something on my iPhone when new apps were installed. After they updated iTunes everything was fine.


macrumors 68000
Sep 20, 2007
38°39′20″N 27°13′10″W
Where in this does it say that 'Old Jobs personally got involved?

"From the top" could just mean what ever manager is overseeing the shambles of the approval team.

Next time my and app needs to be force-quited or the beacjh ball spinns a little long, I'll call up Steve to pop around to my place and sort of the problem.


macrumors 6502a
Jul 25, 2001
So, use of private APIs is fair-game now? If you get rejected, you can just get Steve Jobs to step in on your behalf?
What could you _possibly_ mean?!?!

As so many will tell you the App Approval Process is a clear set of rules and regulations that even a 3rd grader should be able to understand... :rolleyes:


macrumors G3
Mar 20, 2007
"From the top" - it is more likely to be Phil Schiller than Steve Jobs..


macrumors 601
Mar 4, 2005
.. London ..
I emailed Jobs with my frustration when they took firewire off the macbook - it affected the non-profit I work at (who use cheap FW cameras for working with deaf people and sign language).

I'm sure I was just one of many many people who also did the same thing. I got no reply, but a few weeks later, firewire was back on the macbook, in the form of the new 13'' MBP model. FW800 no less. This was after he said "FW is dead. It ain't coming back."


macrumors 6502a
Jun 12, 2008
Jobs says a lot of crap that doesn't have any basis in reality. After all, Woz actually did something, Jobs just said whatever people wanted to hear to make them buy what Woz did. This is pretty funny tho. I didn't really think the app "process" could get any less consistent and any more full of s**t and yet it seems that it can.


macrumors 65816
Jun 6, 2006
Here's one for Steve from a frustrated developer ( me )

How about allowing access the User's iTunes library to manipulate?

I would be wiling to submit to a more stringent review process even if I could do this. I know you want to protect your lifeblood, but there are plenty of legitimate apps out there that could use this.


macrumors 65816
Nov 26, 2008
California, USA
So, use of private APIs is fair-game now? If you get rejected, you can just get Steve Jobs to step in on your behalf?
I have a feeling Steve Jobs is about to get more mail than Santa Claus. The U.S. Post Office will soon pull up to Apple with an entire 18-wheel truck full of letters addressed to "Steve Jobs. Private. Confidential."
Enjoy. :) :apple:


macrumors 68000
Mar 13, 2007
He didn’t say anything like that. All he said was:

"Actually, all of the new HD camcorders of the past few years use USB 2."
Well, he was right. Most new "consumer" HD camcorder do use USB 2. There is a lot less need for Firewire on the "Macbook" line. They brought back Firewire on the 13" "Macbook Pro" to differentiate it from the Macbook line.

mac jones

macrumors 68040
Apr 6, 2006
here we go again

It's perhaps wise to 'assume' that "from the top", would most likely mean

The top of my dept.
the top floor in my building.
some guy who I admire.
"the suits"

Mind you, the minion who made the call was probably so in the dark as to be privy to exactly nada.
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