Here is another crazy App Store story. If you’re an iPhone App developer, do not use the same glossy buttons in the SMS app in any of your iPhone applications. Apparently this is trademarked by Apple, and they don’t want you to use it in any of your applications. Joe Stump found this out the hard way.
Joe Stump, a former architect of Digg made an application called Chess Wars. Chess Wars is an application that allows you to play Chess on your iPhone with your Facebook friends using Facebook connect. After submitting his application and having it approved by Apple, Joe realized that his application had a bug in it. He fixed the bug he found and resubmitted it, and Apple approved the update. After submitting this update Joe realized that there was another bug for new users so he submitted another update for the Chess Wars app. Unfortunately this time Apple did not approve his application. Due to the iPhone OS 3.0 update, his Application did not work for users and Apple did not approve the updated working version of his application so he got negative reviews. Unfortunately these negative reviews will stick there and may affect future sales of his application.
It’s been more than 6 weeks and Apple has still not approved Joe’s application. A few days ago, Joe Stump decided to make a blog post about it which got posted on TechCrunch. The post on TechCrunch got a lot of attention and I believe that caused Apple to contact Joe recently.
An Apple representative contacted Joe yesterday morning and told him that his chat interface looks similar to the one in the iPhone SMS client. You can argue that there are other applications like Tweetie that have a similar interface, but Tweetie also has an icon next to the speech bubbles and it’s less shiny. Apple suggested to Joe that he make his chat bubbles more square and “less shiny”.
I think this is a ridiculous reason for Apple to reject an update for an application. I hope that Apple takes steps to improve their App Store review process. Right now not too many developers are happy with it!