Update 11/30: Time to put the nail in the coffin of this story. Airkast CEO Larry Leung has stated how it has adjusted to Apple’s requests towards future radio apps.
To the best of our knowledge, Apple has not formally published a position to reject apps for single radio stations. In October, the Apple iTunes App Store team approached us regarding the subject of radio apps. We want it to be clear that Apple has not rejected any of our radio apps. However, in respecting the direction Apple wants for future iPhone apps, it was recommended that we work closer with our customers to: a) add more variety to the look-and-feel of individual station apps; and, b) distribute apps through our customers’ own Apple Developer Program accounts.
Apple’s PR department has gone on the offensive as well, making it clear that only one developer was affected by this decision, “One developer has attempted to spam the App Store with hundreds of variation of essentially the same radio app, and that is against our guidelines.”
To summarize, this issue was much ado about mostly nothing. Apple wants apps to not have an identical look and feel and for stations to use their own developer accounts to publish their apps. DJBApps apparently did not want to play by the new rules and decided to make a mountain out of a molehill.
A second developer, Airkast may also have been banned by Apple for using the same template for all of its apps. Airkast, which includes Citadel Broadcasting, Radio-One, and Nextmedia among its clients, has not added a new iOS app since November 9 although it has released Blackberry apps since then. Airkast has not yet responded to any inquiry, although we must give them benefit of the doubt for it being a holiday weekend.
A fully detailed roundup of the issue from both sides can be seen at PRX Labs.
Jim Barcus, President of DJBApps.com claims that all single station apps have been banned by Apple for spamming the App store with apps that are “not an enriching end user experience”. While it is correct that Barcus’ apps are being banned, he is the exception and not the rule. As Trevor Long at YourTechLife.com explains, “App developers submitting identical apps with just a logo/stream change under their own developer accounts are not looked well upon. (and if you take the time to download a few of this chapâ€œâ„¢s apps, youâ€œâ„¢ll see how uninspiring they are, and similar too)” Here are two examples of Barcus’ apps to show what little effort he is placing into his apps:
As TechCrunch wrote back in March, Apple has been cracking down on Apps that offer limited functionality and use a similar template. Barcus’ apps merely change the station logo and stream URL from app to app.
Stormy Productions, Airkast, StreamTheWorld, and Jacobs Media among others have and continue to have their apps published by Apple. These companies have gone out of their way to develop high quality apps adding extra features to the basic webstream. These apps have features not limited to but including audio on demand, news feeds, HD subchannels, and the ability to purchase songs from iTunes. This issue has become a vendetta from one developer looking to take the easy way out and now crying to whomever will listen when he can’t get his way.