The question “where is your app?” is one that we’ve had to answer many times over the past month. Like a lot of other iPhone developers, we are currently stuck inside of Apple’s nebulous app review process. Unlike most others, we have been rejected by Apple without any reason or explanation. As family, friends, members of the press, and even some interested fans have asked us where iTouch My Friends is, our answer has slowly changed from a confident “on its way” to a resigned “we don’t know.”
iTouch My Friends was designed as an application to make fun videos of your friends and share them over social networking sites. With over half a year’s development time, the app allows you to turn pictures of your friends into animated characters on your iPhone’s screen and then upload the resulting video to Facebook, Youtube or Twitter. You can add props, animated on-screen effects and sound effects to your videos to make them more entertaining. We also offer a number of pre-made videos that make it quick & easy to turn pictures of your friends into Youtube sensations.
We completed the app early this year and submitted it to Apple’s approval process on January 18. In ITMF’s second week in review, Eli Milchman of Cult of Mac found a video we had uploaded to Youtube and contacted us for more information. We sent him a preview build of the app and he wrote a glowing preview praising ITMF that appeared on the Cult of Mac site on February 1.
The day Eli’s preview was published on the site, Apple phoned us after two weeks of silence to tell us that iTouch My Friends contained what they considered to be ‘objectionable content.’ Despite repeated questioning, their representative maintained that they could not tell us exactly what part of our app was objectionable. We finally managed to pry out of him that ‘anything featuring consumption of alcohol, violence or sexual content’ when a ‘realistic human avatar’ was on screen was a no-no. We had designed the app around what our friends thought would make funny videos and had admittedly made a few ‘racy’ themes that were probably a little inappropriate.
We never offered sexual content as part of the iTouch My Friends experience, so we set to work stripping all content from the app that was violent or referenced alcohol. We removed a number of props, effects and movies (including bottles of beer, samurai swords and the vomit effect) that seemed to be against the policy. We added replacement props and movies featuring dances and superhero themes, and resubmitted the application on February 2.
After resubmitting, another Apple representative informed us that there was a bug in their submission system, and held our application out of review. Finally, after contacting them many times in an attempt to resolve the issue, iTouch My Friends was put back into review on February 9. Again we anxiously began preparing for the launch of our application.
Last Thursday, February 18, exactly one month after our initial submission to Apple, iTouch My Friends was again rejected. This time, Apple has not contacted us or given a reason for the rejection, the app has simply appeared in the rejected state on Apple’s submission tool. We have tried contacting Apple on all official channels for an explanation. So far we have not gotten anything out of them except for the red icon telling us our app is not going to see the store any time soon.
At this point we are unsure how we should proceed. As far as we know iTouch My Friends does not violate any of the rules of Apple’s store. It is a large and complex app, so it’s possible we overlooked or missed some detail that Apple does not like. Like we did with the objectionable content, we are willing and eager to bring the app to a conforming state, but without knowing what we are doing wrong it is impossible for us to know what we need to fix.
Where is our app? It’s now a question that we have been asking Apple for days, and we have not even received the courtesy of a “we don’t know.”
Update: Gizmodo has picked up on our story
Another Update: Apple has gotten back to us! After all that, it was just a few concerns about the video upload process. We have hopefully resolved them and iTouch My Friends is resubmitted and back into review!