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iOS and MacOS / I wonder about Apple's rejection criteria....

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Ancient Lady
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Posted: 8th Jun 2012 22:06
I went searching in the App Store for titles that might be similar to my next game. The title includes the words 'drinking game' and I found about 20 different titles with those words. Most of them were basically instruction sets for 70-100 popular drinking games. No competition for my game.

However, as I am getting closer to my first game being ready to publish, I started looking closer at the Apple guidelines (I'd include a link, but you have to be logged in as a registered developer to see it). After the search I had just done, this particular guideline was a little strange:
Quote: "2.18 Apps that encourage excessive consumption of alcohol or illegal substances, or encourage minors to consume alcohol or smoke cigarettes, will be rejected"


Oh well, maybe they figure people won't actually play the drinking games described in the apps I found.

Cheers,
Ancient Lady
bjadams
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Posted: 9th Jun 2012 13:29
The Apple approval process is shrouded in mystery.

In actual fact, it's all up to the reviewer who reviews your app. There are reviewers who barely check apps, and others who scrutinize every pixel onscreen!

My first app was rejected because apple said you can do this as a website, no need for an app!!!! it was a news based app that let you read a list of rss feeds in 1 click.

Second app was a game and was approved on first try even though it only supported 1 fixed screen rotation.

Third app was rejected because it did not support screen rotation!!!!
Dazzag
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Posted: 26th Jun 2012 11:18
I had an app get rejected because it was a "Trial" version and they don't like that anymore. It really was just a time limited version of the game that's it and I called it the free version. Pretty sure I've seen other games like that... They were quite vague on how I should get round the issue.

My other app that was rejected was because of nudity. Basically it was women in Bikinis with as much nudity as you see in a family friendly catalogue. Crikey call the morality police. I actually got a phone call from America on that one. All very polite but basically they weren't going to go further with that one. I informed them that I had checked other apps to make sure I wasn't going to be rejected and gave a Hooters app as an example where women in Bikinis wash your screen. Thanks for telling us they tell me we will be looking into that app again now. Oops... No such problem on WebOS it went straight on there. Probably Android too if I can be bothered to make a new project.

Cheers

Current fave quote : Cause you like musicians and I like people with boobs.
bjadams
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Posted: 26th Jun 2012 17:57
Apple has decided a long time ago to remove all apps which simply displayed women in bikini or seductive poses. The Hooters apps is there because it's an advert for a brand, and the app actually performs the joke function of "washing your screen".

Apple does not allow time limited apps. Just make a version of your fully paid app with less levels or less features, but don't make it time limited.

Check out the apple submission guide, there are indications of things to stay away from.

Google does not check Android app submissions, all apps go live automatically.
Dazzag
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Posted: 27th Jun 2012 11:16
Quote: "The Hooters apps is there because it's an advert for a brand"
But there are loads like this. I checked before doing mine just incase. Wasn't a total waste of time as it only took me a day to modify a different version of the game (pets). Is rather amusing how churchy Apple is when it comes to this kind of stuff. Seriously is no more sexy that a clothes catalogue. Guess it's that weird kind of two sided thing you get with the US and sexual stuff. One side is like the Vicartastic (without so much of the child molestation) and the other is like the biggest porn industry in the world. Strange.

Quote: "Apple does not allow time limited apps"
Actually it wasn't time limited it was score limited. Hit a certain score and you need to buy the full version to continue. But I've seen *loads* of apps like that. Limited score, time, levels etc. They leaned on the idea of in-app purchasing but I got a free app the other day (released only a week ago) that stopped at like level 5 and demanded you buy it with a link to the store (ie. no in-app purchasing at all, much like my app). No worries about that getting on the store.

Quote: "Check out the apple submission guide, there are indications of things to stay away from"
Yeah I get that but have you seen the number of pages? Plus loads of it are totally vague. When I put up the bikini rejection I must have got at least 10 different explanations from people. Everything from the obvious slight nudity to the fact I had padlock signs over the top of the levels (thus sometimes hiding the women that may be completely nude underneath). Because the phone call and email was amazingly vague (point towards part of the submission guide) then could be intrepretted a few different ways. Same for the rejection of the free game.

I've heard of people being rejected because the reviewer didn't spot something in the game. One time I got rejected because they didn't like a quit button (must be the home button) but I've seen games get through with quit buttons. Another time they wanted a help section. It existed under the big question mark button on the menu. Helpful hint: Don't make icons without text because it looks better. Always use text as reviewers are dullards pulling a second shift after their McDonalds shift.

Cheers

Current fave quote : Cause you like musicians and I like people with boobs.
bjadams
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Posted: 27th Jun 2012 13:24
Steve Jobs did not want iOS to have sexy stuff. So if you want to make a bikini app with sexy women, then you have better chances to publish on Android.

QUIT buttons are a big NO NO on iOS too.

Keep in mind that the more "dubious" apps you try publishing, and the more that get rejected, you will end up in apple's black book, and every app you try to submit will end up being scrutinized deeply.

In my opinion, they should start doing the same deep reviewing on games with really bad graphics and design! There are so many really bad apps out there.
Dazzag
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Posted: 27th Jun 2012 14:42
Quote: "Steve Jobs did not want iOS to have sexy stuff. So if you want to make a bikini app with sexy women, then you have better chances to publish on Android"
I would agree with you if it wasn't totally littered with the stuff already. Either lock it down or let it through, don't do it with some and not others. And that's what I don't like about Apple. It's all a bit inconsistant. Would help if they employed reviewers with a higher IQ than a potato mind you...

Quote: "QUIT buttons are a big NO NO on iOS too"
But they exist. Big NO NO or not there are apps out there with them. Hell one of mine has a quit button on the store. The other one was disallowed. The difference? Erm, possibly the disallowed one didn't have a nice bit of text saying "QUIT" so it must have seemed too complicated for them... Ask for a better explanation and you get pointed at a section of the T&C document. Explains practically nothing especially when putting up an argument of "So why is this one ok then?". Sigh.

Quote: "Keep in mind that the more "dubious" apps you try publishing, and the more that get rejected, you will end up in apple's black book, and every app you try to submit will end up being scrutinized deeply"
I think you have to be pretty bad. Look up rejections on forums and most people have loads for one reason or another. Most of the people I have got advice off in the past pretty much say "Yeah, you are going to get rejected. Don't take it personally and don't have a go at them. Just move on and hope their explanation makes sense.".

Quote: "In my opinion, they should start doing the same deep reviewing on games with really bad graphics and design! There are so many really bad apps out there."
Yes, but I truly don't think they QA things that much. This "deep reviewing" seems to be just going through the T&C list and ticking everything off. A couple of times now I have spotted a really obvious bug after submitting an app and they went through without a hitch. Make an icon that isn't exactly obvious (a big round icon with a question mark to get to the help section) and it's all rejected and the like. Honestly I reckon you could do a big fake BSOD under different menu options and they wouldn't even notice.

Cheers

Current fave quote : Cause you like musicians and I like people with boobs.
bjadams
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Posted: 29th Jun 2012 00:18
Agree with you, it's not anything personal, after all they don't even know you as a person.

I've had 2 apps rejected in the past, and they were done in a hurry, so nowadays I am happy that they were not approved as I have only good quality apps on my account.

The big problem I see is when for example you are doing an app for a client and its gets rejected and the client does not pay!
fallen one
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Posted: 29th Jun 2012 01:05 Edited at: 29th Jun 2012 02:26
I had an app rejected by apple, poo, wee wee, sick, and humor that would make a docker blush. Proper good app that. Apple phones me up, guy was just like Ed Flanders from the Simpsons, his brain was in meltdown, like I disturbed him from a lifetime of watching the Disney channel. He couldn't say adult terms like, defecation, or excrement, kept saying 'poop'.

'Its got poop in it, poop in it!!'

LOL. What made me laugh is that I dont really see the US as a moral ambassador. They have this really weird duality thing, one side puritanical, cant even say, 'Im going to the toilet' they have to say bathroom, even though there is no bath in the public toilets. Remember when one of the Jacksons had a wardrobe malfunction at the Super Bowl and her boob fell out. LOL. caused massive US outrage, In the UK their would be an outrage if you didnt flash your boob.
yet the US is the prawn capital of the world, very fishy me salty sea men ship mates.

Better to publish the sticky wipeings from a wet brain fart on the Android, Apple cannot stomach fruity topics of consumption.


Ancient Lady
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Posted: 29th Jun 2012 01:09
As my Aussy hubby likes to say, Australia got the better deal with the criminals. The USA got the Puritans.

Cheers,
Ancient Lady
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MarcoBruti
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Posted: 1st Jul 2012 01:26
Is Apple an Islamic Republic? No wine and alcoholics, no women (only veiled are admitted), I suppose no pork roast, no apps about Israel and Olocaust etc
It seems the trailer for the next movie from Sacha Baron Cohen
Conjured Entertainment
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Posted: 2nd Jul 2012 05:21 Edited at: 2nd Jul 2012 05:34
Quote: "Quote: "2.18 Apps that encourage excessive consumption of alcohol or illegal substances, or encourage minors to consume alcohol or smoke cigarettes, will be rejected""

What about weapons?
No shooter games?
So, it's don't drink a lot of beer, because then you can't run around and shoot everybody?
Are they confusing fantasy with reality?
I think someone at Apple is having an LSD flashback from the 80's or something.

P.S. Appple is not representative of USA, just one company enjoying their freedom of restriction on their products.

Quote: "Better to publish the sticky wipeings from a wet brain fart on the Android, Apple cannot stomach fruity topics of consumption.
"

Yeah, just go Android if Apple doesn't want it.
It is their loss, really.



Dazzag
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Posted: 2nd Jul 2012 13:53 Edited at: 2nd Jul 2012 13:54
Quote: "I am happy that they were not approved as I have only good quality apps on my account"
I would agree with this if this had been my experience. Instead I have been picked on vague picky things that no-one really gives a monkeys about, and pretty major bugzilla stuff has been totally and utterly missed (total crash every time on my Shop menu item if no wifi at one point for example).

Doesn't surprise me though. I remember years ago our company had a small QA department of about 4 coders who were better than the people they QA'ed. They did normal QA stuff but also deep level code checking. If you didn't write code the way the company wanted then you were rejected. Eg. Loads of IFs when using a nice maths calculation reduces the same functionality to a single command. As a result quality was pretty high and bugs pretty low.

Then we were bought out by a bigger company (right after 9/11 as it happens). They could not see why the QA department were paid so much and basically either sacked them or moved them onto something else. Only QA then was by people who had just left school and maybe had a little real world experience in our field (not coding though). Deep level coding QA was dropped. The standard of code then dropped through the floorboards especially by newer coders. Lots of bugs starting coming.

I'm not saying that Apple could or even should do such a deep level of QA on apps, but something better than ticking off a list would be nice. More intelligent QA staff plus better responses. Then again with the sheer number of apps then I doubt this will ever happen. I fully understand why it is like it is, just don't have to be happy about it.

Cheers

Current fave quote : Cause you like musicians and I like people with boobs.
bjadams
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Dazzag
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Posted: 4th Jul 2012 11:35
Good article. And fully understandable given the sheer number of apps. But we don't have to like how it works. Would be nice if Apple spent a little of their mammoth amount of money to make things a little better.

Cheers

Current fave quote : Cause you like musicians and I like people with boobs.
Unjust1
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Posted: 4th Jul 2012 15:36
Apple certainly has a peculiar way about it, but after reading the Steve Jobs book, I can see why things are the way they are at Apple. I have only had a few rejections so far, but I have also been able to get all of my apps published to the store after a few changes.

Quote: "
Thank you for submitting iBash Cars to the App Store. We've reviewed iBash Cars and determined that we cannot post this version of your iPhone application to the App Store because it does not adhere to the iPhone Application Programming Guide as outlined in the iPhone Developer Program License Agreement section 3.3.5; "Applications must comply with the Human Interface Guidelines and other Documentation provided by Apple."

On iPod touch, it is not possible to make the device vibrate, though your application may feature vibration. When iBash Cars is installed on an iPod touch, the Vibration feature can be selected . However, this feature is not functional on iPod touch.

Please refer to the attached image.


Please take a look at the system call "sysctlbyname" and the section on "CTL_HW" from the Apple provided iPhoneOS reference documentation. It is necessary to check the machine class and machine type to determine if the device is capable of supporting vibration.

<http://developer.apple.com/iphone/library/documentation/System/Conceptual/ManPages_iPhoneOS/man3/sysctlbyname.3.html>

Additionally, iBash Cars cannot be posted to the App Store because the small bundle icon does not match your large icon. This might be confusing to users.

iTunes Connect Developer Guide, page 37
C) Large Icon (512x512)

The small (57x57) icon that you include inside the binary will be used on the iPhone home screen when installed, and on the device App Store when viewed from the iPod touch and iPhone. The large icon will be displayed for your app on the desktop App Store and if necessary, will be used to feature your application on the App Store.

Please resolve these issues and upload a new binary and correct metadata using iTunes Connect <http://itunesconnect.apple.com/>

Regards,

iPhone Developer Program"


When I began, I had no idea that the icons had to be the same image more or less, just at different sizes. More important I didn't have an iPod to test on. This led me to an issue later on where I found out that Apple doesn't fully test or play your app at all on every device. Users were complaining to me that "the screen freaks out" or "it gets all weird and you can't press buttons". Users are the worst testers, and what they tell you is mostly useless. I had to go buy an iPod 4th gen to finally find out it was a resolution issue on retina displays causing an offset. Now I test my apps on every device I can find before submission because the Apple reviewers either don't care about bugs in your app or don't test every aspect of it.

Apple has been letting their guard down some, as I have seen some apps getting through with things that used to get auto rejected. I downloaded a free app the other day that let you play for a few minutes then locked you out until you buy. Even restarting the app just brought up the purchase screen. Apple used to ban free apps with time limits. Originally they wanted a free or lite version to be fully functional. Basically no greyed out buttons or features removed. I usually release the first level free, then after the first level ends I take them to a screen that asks them to buy the full version, but you still had to give the user the option to keep playing the free version. Oh that reminds me, I'm not sure how AppGameKit handles it, but Apple used to expect you to test to ensure internet connection "wifi or cellular" was present before you redirect the app to a website or the app store. I was pleased to hear that they are no longer taking the fart and burp apps that were starting to clutter the store up and provided nothing useful or new for that matter to the user. Pressing a button to hear a fart or burp is entertaining, but I can see why they don't need 100's of those same type of apps on the store. Ancient Lady I think a drinking game wouldn't get banned like the fart/burp apps especially if it really is a "game". Just be ready for some scrutiny when you submit it, and if its an adult drinking game make sure you fill out the rating chart so minors can't download it and you should be fine.
Dazzag
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Posted: 4th Jul 2012 17:03
Quote: "I usually release the first level free, then after the first level ends I take them to a screen that asks them to buy the full version"
Yeah I got rejected for such things. In the end I was moving country and couldn't be bothered a couple of months later to sort it out, so I made the actual game completely free (Snake Revolutions if you are interested).

The way I see it is in the future my whole plan will be free games with inapp purchases. The WebOS version of my game (free version) has so far had about 9k worth of downloads. If iOS gets anywhere near that with the main game being free (doesn't look like it so far), then I will consider a good update (multiplayer for example) and bung in in-app purchasing for it. That reminds me I should look into game review sites...

Cheers

Current fave quote : Cause you like musicians and I like people with boobs.
Ancient Lady
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Posted: 4th Jul 2012 17:45
Unjust1, the game I plan is actually a game, not just a set of instructions about drinking games (like all the apps I found searching for 'drinking game'). And I will make sure to set the age range for it.

I appreciate all the other information you provided about what they test. I use an iPod Touch for my 'iPhone' testing. I'll be sending my WIP game (not the drinking one) to a couple of testers with iPhones.

Cheers,
Ancient Lady
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Unjust1
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Posted: 6th Jul 2012 03:54
IAP is what I am aiming for at this point also. The advantages are obvious, since there is only one app to have approved, maintain, and update. Where as I have two apps and in some cases four since my engine didn't scale resolution like AppGameKit does.

I have given close to a million copies of my apps away free at this point, and I have sold a little over one percent of that. Remember to save for tax time and save receipts for any software that you buy. I wrote AppGameKit off last year along with my Apple dev. license, some exporter software while I was using the Ogre engine, and was even able to write a percentage off of the iPad I bought for testing. All you have to do is tell your tax person that you are an independent contractor "Application Developer". Who knows, you may have the next big thing. Its really impossible to tell what app will go viral anymore.
bjadams
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Posted: 8th Jul 2012 21:27
why only a small % of the ipad?
if you do ios apps you can include the cost of the device with your expenses
Unjust1
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Posted: 8th Jul 2012 23:06
I use mine for non-business purposes frequently. Your write off is allowed on the percentage used for business purposes only. You could always tell them you only use if for testing your apps and claim 100%, but I am honest on my taxes and only use it for app testing once in a while. I think it helps having a profit margin too. I would guess they may pay more attention if you were writing it all off as a loss and not showing any profit made by your business, but I really have no experience with any of that.
bjadams
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Posted: 9th Jul 2012 14:57
WOW, you're so honest. well done keep that up!

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