How Apple destroys a small developer

by Volker Weber


This companion app augments the Pebble for iPhone users. I highly recommend it. With iOS 8.3 Apple breaks the app, the developer fixes it and tests it on TestFlight. When he submits the updated app for review, Apple rejects it. What has happened? Apple Watch ships and they really don't want anything called Pebble. Original rejection, after appealing Apple's decision:

... we understand your app is for Pebble devices, it is still not appropriate to contain references to Pebble in your app name or icon.

Pebble intervenes and tries to explain to Apple that they would like to have this app in the iTunes store. Really, really like to. To no avail.

No, this is not over. And it is not an isolated incident. Well done, Apple. Well done. Time to raise hell, right?

Update: Apple called and changed the decision. The app update is now approved and the developer is back in business.


There can be only one SmartWatch. Resistance is futile!

Michael Kobrowski, 2015-05-01 22:26

who uses pebble anyway...

Bernd Hofmann, 2015-05-01 22:32

Is your quote correct or should it be "references to a _Smartwatch_"?

Martin Hiegl, 2015-05-01 22:54

Apples behaviour is a real threat and risk to anybody investing into the whole iOS ecosystem. Hardware Vendors (even big, big names like Pebble!) and Developers (Max, in this case) could do Android first and only as well.

In Apples situation, having a very premium but niche position, this seems reckless.

Hubert Stettner, 2015-05-01 23:00

Well, you simply get what you long and pray for. We made them strong, we can make them fall. It's up to us all. So nothing will happen. Look at Merkels ratings. We're doomed ;-).

Heiko Voigt, 2015-05-01 23:15

Time to switch from iOS to Android?

Frank Köhler, 2015-05-02 08:58

That's kind of like Microsoft trying to keep other browsers out of windows. Or Google preferring their own services in search results.

Not that that would ever happen.

Thomas Holzapfel , 2015-05-02 09:27

Thomas, you are pointing in the right direction. Anti-competetive behaviour.

Volker Weber, 2015-05-02 09:33

Ridiculous. Time for a Tim-mail.

Bodo Menke, 2015-05-02 09:43

It depends on on your point of view how you like to see Apple and Apple products.

In case you see Apple products as closed ecosystem in a walled garden, Apple does everything right. Consequently they should kick even more applications out of the store.

But, if you see Apple or iOS as platform or infrastructure provider they should support at least apps that correspond with other hardware as well.

Other than that I agree with the fact that this is anti-competitive behaviour.

Dirk Deimeke, 2015-05-02 10:12

Pretty disgraceful behaviour from Apple.

Paul Mooney, 2015-05-02 18:24

I don't even know how this is legal? The EU sue Microsoft and Google for ant-icompetitive practice but apple get away with it time and time again, it's just like the supposed law that all phones support Micro-usb do apple release an expensive adapter, it's a joke and why I refuse to use Apple products

David Guillaume , 2015-05-03 09:37

If you don't use Apple products, the charger probably does not really matter to you. I am pretty happy with Apple's connector and prefer it to MicroUSB type B. That changes with type C, which Apple is already transitioning to with the MacBook.

What I am not happy with it this anti-competitive behavior.

Volker Weber, 2015-05-03 10:21

This kind of behavior makes Apple ugly.

Bodo Menke, 2015-05-03 13:42

Aber die offizielle Pebble-App wird nicht beanstandet?

Christian Just, 2015-05-03 17:10

Gute Frage. SmartWatch Pro for Pebble ist ja auch noch im Shop, lässt sich nur nicht updaten.

Volker Weber, 2015-05-03 17:20

David, it is not illegal as long as you don't use a monopolistic market position.

Martin Hiegl, 2015-05-03 22:04

Apple approvals are hit or miss.. Apple allows Google and Microsoft products onto iOS mobile devices...

What if Apple decides to release a product that more directly competes with MS and Google ? Would it later ban their respective applications ? Allowing it in the first place creates a precedence. Pebble in this case would be no different. So, Apple are being stupid about it... Allowing it then changing their mind... Apple would act with more "common goodness" if we all didn't keep buying their $hit..

Giulio Campobassi, 2015-05-04 07:11

Another reason NOT to buy an Apple Watch !

Eric Bredtmann, 2015-05-04 08:32

Giulio, Apple already had products which compete more or less directly with Microsoft's. iWork is even advertised with the fact that it supports Microsoft Office file formats. But they probably can't afford to do this to Microsoft, but feel they can afford to do it to Pebble (and probably many other even smaller companies). It is their backyard and they define and interpret and enforce the rules. As long as they are not abusing a market-dominant position, it is - to the best of my knowledge - not violating anti-trust laws (and BTW: IANAL). If we as customers feel it is inappropriate, the best we can do is spend our money elsewhere and let them know why.

Ragnar Schierholz, 2015-05-04 09:19

Buying a Peeble is exactly what won't help in this case.

If this bothers you then I guess it is not the Apple watch you shall abstain from ...

Lucius Bobikiewicz, 2015-05-04 13:55

another area that is bringing US governmental scrunity ...

and for @David - government investigation of anti-trust can take YEARS to get to the point that they announce it

John Head, 2015-05-04 18:36

Can't wait to try this... hoping to get a Pebble Time later this year!

Ray Bilyk, 2015-05-06 13:33

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Ceci n'est pas un blog

I explain difficult concepts in simple ways. For free, and for money. Clue procurement and bullshit detection.


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