As you may have noticed, Gaia GPS Lite went on sale in the App Store this week. Unfortunately, Apple also rejected v1.2 of Gaia GPS. For a look at what Gaia GPS v1.2 should have looked like, check out the Lite version – the two would have been identical except for the restrictions we put on Gaia GPS Lite.
We have also now pushed Gaia GPS v2.0, which includes all the stuff that should have gone in 1.2, along with what we have been working on in the intervening weeks. I guess the silver lining to this situation is when v2.0 comes out in a couple of weeks, it’s going to be awesome!
Why the rejection?
Gaia GPS was rejected because it had dead buttons on iPods – on iPhones you can take photos and tracks with Gaia GPS, but on iPods those features don’t work (which we state in the app description). Apple had approved this configuration twice before (1.0 and 1.1), and they approved the same configuration in Gaia GPS Lite, which shows you how unpredictable the Apple review process can be.
Our app TrailBehind actually suffered the same treatment last summer. TrailBehind provides links to Wikipedia and other websites, and at some point Apple decided that all apps that give unfettered access to the internet have to have a strong parental rating. TrailBehind had four versions approved, but then this rule was put into place, and Apple rejected TrailBehind v1.4 because the rating wasn’t strong enough.
Bad For Everyone
I’m usually one to come to Apple’s defense when people impugn the App Store. I say, for all of its problems, the App Store is a newly created billion dollar market, and it provides indie software developers a chance to make money, and results in tons of great software for users. Software on cell phones has never been so good.
However, in this case, I feel like some pretty simple policy changes would help everyone. In both the cases of Gaia GPS and TrailBehind, the versions on sale had the same problems that the new versions were rejected for, so it’s better for everyone involved to get new features and bug fixes out, and require the revision in the next release. Randomly rejecting apps for “pre-existing conditions” is just folly. These sorts of unpredictable problems are obviously incovenient for us as app developers, and they hurt the end users as well.
When we submitted a new binary to Apple, I wrote them an email complaining about this treatment and suggesting that they should not be rejecting new versions for this type of reason. All I got back was a two-line form letter thanking me for resubmitting a binary, and letting me know the review process would begin anew. So, I guess we’ll just have to suck it up and keep focusing on the software.
I apologize to our users, who will have to deal with v1.1 for another couple of weeks. If you are interested in getting the 2.0 release now, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. We have a few more slots in our beta test group to fill, so we can send a few of you the new code.