Pixel Envy

Written by Nick Heer.

Hopscotch Update Baselessly Rejected by App Review

Hopscotch co-founder and CEO Samantha John published a Twitter thread yesterday documenting her experiences with the rejection of a minor app update. I recommend reading the whole thing, but I am quoting the conclusion:

Hopscotch is a small company, I’m the CEO, AND I write code. And that’s how a lot of the best apps work! My time is limited and precious to me. The way that Apple wasted my energy, gaslighted me, and sucked my time away made me furious.

There’s a lot of talk about the 30% tax that Apple takes from every app on the App Store. The time tax on their developers to deal with this unfriendly behemoth of a system is just as bad if not worse.

Hopscotch is not some scrappy single-developer app with a dozen users. It is a hugely popular learning tool targeted at children that has been selected by Apple as an “Editors’ Choice”. That is not to say that this runaround experience would be appropriate for any developer, but it is defeating to see this is how Apple continues to treat longtime high-profile developers. John is not the only one; scroll through the quote tweets and you will see plenty of people sharing similar stories.

Panic co-founder Cabel Sasser:

Also, sorry, one more rant. With the exception of maybe Uber and Airbnb, App Review isn’t kidding when they say they treat all developers the same, as every good app in the App Store, no matter how beloved, has at least five horror stories just like this […]

The semi-open qualities of iOS are a constant strain on developers’ time and morale. It is not an insular console-type system, nor is it a free-for-all — developer policies for iOS sit in an awkward middle ground that demands far more attention that is poorly rewarded.

Stuff like this is why yesterday’s too-proud announcement of a proposed class action settlement read like a slap in the face to so many developers. It was apparent to me that the settlement was basically inconsequential for Apple, but I missed the condescending tone that the release struck. Its headline spells out who did not win:

Apple, US developers agree to App Store updates that will support businesses and maintain a great experience for users

Still not a great experience for developers, though.