Apple closely curating its App Store makes it more difficult for malware and poor quality apps to go through, but it does come at a price that developers sometimes find out the hard way. There are times when apps are rejected for the most unreasonable reasons or sometimes for new reasons that have been added under developers’ noses. That inconsistency seems to be at work here again, with some developers reporting that their apps are suddenly being rejected, and sometimes accepted, due to on single reason: they mention support for Pebble.
To be fair, Apple’s App Store review guidelines does mention that apps are not allowed to advertise or even mention the name of any other mobile platform, which, in this case, is being applied to Pebble, which technically isn’t a competing platform to iOS the way Google’s Android is. That, however, isn’t really the point of the complaint being made by the developers of SeaNav US, a marine navigation app that can optionally send notifications to Pebble. It’s the inconsistency of the application of said rule that has them and other developers scratching their heads.
For one, SeaNav US has actually been in the App Store before and the rejection was applied to an update they are trying to push. The current version of the app already mentions Pebble support, which makes the rejection bewildering. Other developers have reported something similar and have been able to resolve the issue simply by removing any mention of Pebble in the description or in metadata, which might result in confusion for users or the inability to search for it. Others, however, are saying that their apps have passed just fine, description included. Even Pebble’s own app remains unchanged. At least perhaps until they try to update it.
It seems that Apple is now more strictly enforcing that part of the guideline, and the timing couldn’t be more suspect. It has just launched the Apple Watch, which is still waiting to make its way to people’s wrists. This has turned Pebble from yet another accessory to a competing platform, and we know how Apple thinks of its competitors trying to get some space in its App Store. Although it is definitely within Apple’s rights, the sudden about face for apps advertising Pebble support is still rather sudden and unexpected, and developers could have probably used a heads up in the matter.
If all of these are true, and not just the actions of overzealous employees, then things might not be looking good for future Android Wear integration. Several leaks and even a somewhat working proof of concept revealed that there could be, in the near future, some integration between Google’s smartwatch platform and iOS. But with these latest developments, Apple might be trying to nip the dream in the bud.