Developer Appeal to Steve Jobs Results in App Approval

Pointy Heads SoftwareAfter hiving his company's iPhone app rejected by Apple, Pointy Heads Software developer Brian Meehan made a personal appeal to Apple CEO Steve Jobs, or at least his e-mail in-box, a move that he said resulted in a reversal.

The app, Knocking Live Video, allows users to share video from their iPhone directly to another iPhone across 3G or WiFi. Because the app is using a private API Apple reserves for its own internal use, the software works with either an iPhone 3G or 3GS, because its capturing the iPhone's screen, and not simply accessing the iPhone 3GS's video camera.

It was using that API, however, that got the video rejected by Apple in the first place, according to ArsTechnica. Said API has been used in other apps that have been approved, but recent efforts by Apple to use automatic scans to look for forbidden code has tripped up Pointy Heads and other developers in recent months.

Mr. Meehan of Pointy Heads thought his company's app was worth a private appeal to Apple due to its novel approach, which is to allow users to see video from their friends immediately with no waiting, no uploads, and no encoding delays.

Mr. Meehan told ArsTechnica that, "We are focused on phone-to-phone, not uploading to the Web. Who really cares about fleeting moments other than friends and family seeing it as it happens? With Knocking people share what they are doing right now. Our testers have referred to knocking as a 'visual tweet'."

Accordingly, he wrote what he felt was an impassioned appeal making the case of what this new use might mean to Mr. Jobs, asking him to review his app for reconsideration. That resulted in an unnamed Apple executive contacting Mr. Meehan, and three hours after that call, the company's app was live.

As of this writing, the software requires sharers to both have the app installed on their iPhone (iPod touch users can receive video, too), and it doesn't transmit sound. It also doesn't allow for recording the video images, which means they truly are transitory.

ArsTechnica pointed out that this is the first app to be approved despite using a private API, and that it's also the first app to allow live video streaming. It's also another specific step towards meeting developers' complaints about the App Store approval process.

"Apple told me they are listening, and truly care about their developers and getting it right," Meehan said. "And I have to say I agree, as they reached back and it was a very positive experience."