Apple Continues To Right App Store Wrongs. Obama "Hope" App Is Go.

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12Last month, we wrote about an iPhone app getting rejected because it featured artwork of President Obama. Specifically, it was Shepard Fairey’s famous “HOPE” image of Obama that Apple found inappropriate stating that it “ridicules public figures”. Of course that’s ridiculous, and the image is hanging in the National Portrait Gallery at the Smithsonian. And now Apple is acknowledging that the rejection was unjust.

The developer, Start Mobile, received the following email from Apple today:

After further investigation, we have decided that Start Mobile Wallpaper Gallery is in compliance with our SDK agreement & PLA. We would like to ask that you resubmit Start Mobile Wallpaper Gallery at your earliest convenience if you would still like this application considered for the App Store. Please let me know once your binary has been uploaded and I will ensure an expedited review.

Regards,

Amy
iPhone Developer Program

There are three important things to note here.

First, this is another example of Apple going back and reviewing a rejection, and realizing they made a mistake.

Second, it’s offering the wronged developers an “expedited review”. Certainly, that’s the least they can do for these developers as some have likely lost quite a bit of money due to ridiculous rejections (though this particular app is free).

Third, while we’re not entirely sure this has just started, the inclusion of App Store reviewer’s names is something that we haven’t seen in emails previously. For example, in the last round of emails Start Mobile got letting them know why their app was rejected, it was just signed “iPhone Developer Program”. Now, we get “Amy”. Of course, maybe Amy is happy to attach her name to a nice email, and perhaps names still aren’t used in rejections, but at the very least this would seem to further humanize an App Store process that has seemed to be run by random robots up until this point.

After months of ridiculous rejection after ridiculous rejection, Apple has seemingly been on a mission get clean up its act. And it has none other than Senior VP Phil Schiller leading the charge, and actually personally handling some of these corrections/misunderstandings. Apple also now has a PR team dedicated to the App Store.

Based on tips we receive, certainly some developers are still upset with the process, but we have noted that the ridiculous rejection emails have seemed to grind to a halt the past couple of weeks. All of this is a very good sign that Apple is correcting the App Store approval process problem that lingered for far too long.

Start Mobile plans to re-submit the Wallpaper Gallery app tonight, and it should be available in the App Store tomorrow, we’re told.

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