When announced, Launcher was hotly anticipated. It represented the first time that iOS users would get the opportunity to actually launch things quickly, and from the notification screen, without having to open an app before hand. After a week or so in the App Store, Apple has unceremoniously yanked it.
Launcher was neat in that it let you perform quick actions from the notification panel. Things like calling a friend or composing a tweet meant you didn’t have to unlock your phone first. It also didn’t even mean you had to launch an app. Launcher sidestepped a lot of that for you.
Launcher creator Greg Gardner tells TechCrunch that the app saw over 300,000 downloads in its short stint on the App Store, even cracking the top 10 for highest grossing productivity apps in 43 countries. If nothing more, that should show Apple the desire is there for services like this one.
If you happen to be one of those 300,000, Gardner says the app will continue to work, but an in-app move to the pro version is now unavailable. For obvious reasons, the app can also no longer be officially supported.
Apple doesn’t really say why the app was pulled, but the obvious assumption is security. A service that can sidestep Apple’s security protocols — even if the user chooses to use it — creates a bit of a problem for them.
Gardner is a bit dismayed at the decision, saying “At this point I have become quite disillusioned with iOS development and Apple as a company. It seemed that they were opening up the platform and allowing for more inter-app communication in iOS 8, but this decision shows that they still feel they know what is best for the users, even if users disagree. I’m not sure that I can continue to support a company that claims to put users first, but at the same time shows such disregard for their users’ wishes. At this point I don’t have any plans to continue developing iOS apps.”
I’d argue he took Launcher a step too far, and probably should have gone another way with it. then again, I could also argue Apple needs to be a bit more open and communicative about their app denial or removal process. That, above all, is the underlying issue this time around.