At today’s WWDC Keynote, before shifting his attention to iPhone 4, Steve Jobs spent some time on a few other iPhone-related topics. Surprisingly, one of them was defend the “curated” nature of the App Store (Steve must have delved into a thesaurus to come up to this colorful alternative to “closed”). In particular, he offered the three top reasons why Apple rejects apps: 1. The app doesn’t function or do what the developer says it does; 2. The app uses a private API; or 3. The app crashes.
These all seem reasonable; hard to argue with any of them. The only problem is that (with the partial exception of the private API issue) they have little or no bearing on the reasons behind the rejected or accepted-but-later-ousted apps that have made news and generated controversy over the past couple of years. It doesn’t explain the rejection/removal of so-called “porn” apps, of apps that contain political criticism, of apps that mention “jailbreaking” (yes, this one involved my iPhone book), of “widgety” apps (removal still pending) or of most of the other reported cases. This list also doesn’t account for the coming prohibition against Flash-based apps (although Steve has covered this matter elsewhere). There may well be defensible reasons for all of these rejections, but they are not in the top three that Steve chose to highlight. That’s probably why these rejected apps make news. If they were rejected for any of the top three reasons, it wouldn’t be a story.