Bjango, developers of iPhone App iStat, an iPhone and iPod Touch monitoring tool claim that Apple told them to remove the “Free Memory” feature from their iPhone App.
According to Bjango, other iPhone apps with Free Memory have been removed or updated without their Free Memory feature.
Users who had bought these iPhone apps, mainly for the “Free Memory” feature are obviously very angry and have started submitting negative reviews on the iPhone App Store.
The “Free Memory” feature as the name suggests allowed iPhone users to free memory on demand.
Without the “Free Memory” feature, the iStat app might still be
quite useful for users as it tells you how much time is remaining for
various tasks such as making calls, using the internet, watching videos
and listening to music depending on your iPhone’s battery life.
It also allows you to remotely monitor your Mac, Linux or Solaris system.
You can checkout all the other features of iStat by visiting this direct iTunes link.
Another Controversial App Store Approval Decision?
Bjango has categorically stated on their website that they removed the “Free Memory” feature at Apple’s request.
iStat’s Free Memory function was removed at Apple’s request.
This decision was completely out of our hands. Please note that all other apps with Free Memory appear to have been removed or updated without their Free Memory function too.
This was not taken lightly—we examined our choices, taking a lot of public feedback on board. We apologise for any inconvenience this may have caused and we do not plan to remove any other features from iStat.
They are also advising users who have not upgraded to the new version to avoid it if they want the feature and have also provided instructions on how to downgrade to the older version of iStat if users have upgraded to the new version.
Whose fault is it?
It really depends on the reason Apple asked iPhone app developers to remove the “Free Memory” feature.
Scenario 1: Developers used an unpublished API
According to Bjango, Apple didn’t give them the reason why they wanted the “Free Memory” feature to be removed.
It could be because they had used an unpublished API for the feature as it seems to be the only logical explanation for Apple requesting for its removal.
I had mentioned couple of risks using unpublished APIs in an iPhone app in the post about Yelp sneaking in Augmented Reality feature in their iPhone app through an Easter Egg:
Future firmware updates could break the iPhone app if Apple decides to make some changes to the API.
It could also mean that Apple rejects or removes the iPhone App from the App Store thus forcing Yelp to remove the Easter egg from their iPhone app.
If the developer has used an unpublished API then it is their fault for letting customers down as they should have been aware that they ran the risk of either their iPhone app getting rejected or in this case getting a request from Apple to remove the feature. So in my opinion it is their headache and not Apple’s to deal with the consequences.
When I first heard about the iPhone app and the feature in particular, I was quite surprised that Apple approved the iPhone app.
I think Apple might be slightly at fault for approving the iPhone app with this feature in the first place. If they had asked the iPhone app developer to remove the feature before it was approved then they could have prevented this situation. But with only 40-odd reviewers it is a tough ask to expect them to figure out if an iPhone app is using an unpublished API without delaying the approval process even further.
Scenario 2: Apple rejected the iPhone app even though iPhone app developers had used published API.
If this was case then it would be another controversial decision by Apple, and they should be dealing with the consequences rather than the developers.
It would help Apple’s cause if they were more transparent and had published the reason for rejecting an iPhone app/feature so that we can stop speculating.
Unfortunately, in both scenarios, iPhone users are affected and it is quite natural for them to be pissed off.
What do you think?