Another day, another App Store brouhaha. Late last week the internet erupted in flames after finding out about yet another shining example Apple’s sheer incompetence. The obvious incapable souls managing one of Apple’s greatest assets once again rejected an App Store submission on grounds any normal human would find completely unfathomable. This time eBook reader Eucalyptus was rejected on the grounds that it can search for and download the Kama Sutra of Vatsyayana, an ancient Indian text about human sexual intercourse.
Why is the Kama Sutra of Vatsyayana so controversial that it lead to an eBook reader being rejected from Apple’s precious App Store? If you are not familiar with the Kama Sutra then chances are you need to go out and have some fun! Seriously though, the Kama Sutra is the perennial Indian text on human sexual behavior. Famous for its depiction of various sexual positions, it only makes sense for Apple to reject such blatant pornography from the App Store even though much of the text was written around the second century CE.
Not that Eucalyptus comes bundled with the Kama Sutra of Vatsyayana mind you. Customers would have to take their time to search the Project Gutenberg eBook archives for this book before being presented with the contentious results. But more to the point: why should Eucalyptus not be allowed in the App Store alongside the countless idiotic and lewd fart apps so easily accepted?
As with the rejection of a Tweetie update a few short months ago, what made this particular rejection so touchy is the fact that Mobile Safari, Apple’s own web browser bundled with the iPhone OS, is capable of performing identical actions. Anyone can open Mobile Safari and search the Project Gutenberg archives without requiring Eucalyptus. Furthermore, other eBook readers like Stanza, eReader and Kindle all perform the same actions yet were allowed in the App Store.
Fortunately this story has a happy ending as Apple came to their senses and allowed Eucalyptus in to the App Store.
Earlier today I received a phone call from an Apple representative. He was very complimentary about Eucalyptus. We talked about the confusion surrounding its App Store rejections, which I am happy to say is now fully resolved. He invited me to re-build and submit a version of Eucalyptus with no filters for immediate approval, and that full version is now available on the iPhone App Store.
Eucalyptus is currently being sold for $9.99 in the App Store, not a bad price considering the power of the app. I would love to have been a fly on the wall during that conversation. Though judging by Apple’s past actions I find it hard to believe they offered up any relevant explanation for the prior rejections.
While Eucalyptus finally being accepted is great news, I am still quite dismayed by Apple and their obvious inability to properly manage the App Store. Stunning example after example of their sheer incompetence is doing more harm than good, and Apple’s usual reluctance to speak is creating more confusion among developers. Someone in Cupertino needs to get off their ass and issue a statement about the rejections and reassure developers that iPhone development will not be subjected to further stupidity.
It is apparent these rejections are due to ineptitude rather than some misguided attempt to be mischievous. Remember Hanlon’s Razor?
Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity.
This statement has never been truer than what has been evidenced with App Store mismanagement over the course of the past few months. Something needs to change otherwise Apple risks alienating the very developers it relies upon for the success of the App Store.