Apple Flip Flops on App Functionality, Allows Transmit to Upload to iCloud

Panic's FTP app Transmit has had a crazy week, starting with a release that had to remove "Send" functionality on Monday at Apple's request. On Thursday morning, a sudden reversal from Apple allowed the company to add that functionality back to the app.

Here's the lowdown: Transmit is a wonderful FTP utility with a long history on Mac OS that has now come to iOS. Panic was told the iOS version is in violation of App Store guidelines with regards to the share sheet. In particular, Apple said that allowing users to upload to iCloud Drive from an FTP source—which is what users could do via iOS's own share sheet—violated those guidelines.

The curious thing is that Panic had no control over the contents of the iOS share sheet. It's available to developers through Apple's iOS SDK, and Apple had apparently not intended for users to be able to share files that originated from outside the app doing the sharing. Therefore, Panic's only option was to remove the "Send" functionality altogether to remain compliant with the App Store's rules.

Then today, the blog post from Panic outlining the issue was updated to say:

UPDATE 12/11/14: After a considerate conversation with Apple, Transmit iOS 1.1.2 has been released with restored “Send To” functionality.

That was surprising, to say the least. And then I remembered that PCalc got yanked for some sort of widgetary violation, which Apple reversed. At the same time, there's Launcher from Cromulent Labs, which was pulled by Apple but will not be back. Here's part of why:

I also asked specifically why Launcher was removed from the App Store after 9 days when other similar apps are still available weeks later. The answer to this question was the most interesting and informative response I had ever heard from [the App Store Reivew team]. They basically said that Launcher was a trailblazer in uncharted territories and that they felt that they needed to make an example of it in order to get the word out to developers that its functionality is not acceptable without them having to publish new specific guidelines. And they said that the fact that they aren’t seeing hundreds of similar apps submitted every day is proof to them that taking down Launcher was successful in this regard.

It's good that Panic was able to sort something out. And it's good that Apple saw the light. But it also means that apps like Workflow are in a precarious position, having to gamble all that development time and hope to be playing by all of Apple's real - and perceived - rules.