iPad Coder Talks API Rules with Steve Jobs

iPad app developer Ram Arumugam found out there aren’t any problems with code that can’t be fixed with a quick phone call from Steve Jobs. Mr. Arumugam got the phone call from Apple’s CEO after writing an email expressing his frustration over not being able to use an undocumented iOS API to work around a bug in Apple’s own code.

Mr. Arumugam had been working on his Economy for iPad app when he discovered a bug preventing the onscreen keyboard from disappearing was due to Apple’s code and not his own. By using a command that’s built into the software development kit (SDK), but not officially available to developers outside of Apple’s offices, he worked around the problem only to find that his app was rejected from the App Store for using the undocumented code.

Steve Jobs calls developer about APIs

An appeal for an exception to the no private API policy wasn’t progressing quickly, so Mr. Arugumam shot an email to Steve Jobs asking for his help. Mr. Jobs called back a couple hours later, much to Mr. Arumugam’s surprise, and reiterated Apple’s policy that led to his app rejection.

“Steve Jobs talked to me about my appeal and the ‘no private APIs’ policy. I then asked him whether an exception could be made to the policy because the private APIs were necessitated by the SDK bug,” Mr. Arumugam said on his company’s blog. “He reiterated his point and I accepted it. I told him that I would replace the modal form sheet with alternative UI.”

Ultimately, Mr. Arumagam rewrote his app to call up the onscreen keyboard in a different way and Economy for iPad was approved and is available now at the App Store.

“Steve Jobs has a well-deserved reputation for creating great quality products and for his passion for excellence and user experience,” he added. “His phone-call reinforced those notions and went further to suggest that he was also a very conscientious guy who cared about people. The fact that he took the time to read my email, think about the app and then personally call me was amazing.”

The take away? Apple won’t make exceptions to its App Store policies, even to work around issues with the company’s own SDK, and Steve Jobs can be a nice guy on the phone.