MSA Remote for iPhone from Memo Akten on Vimeo.

Since the dawn of computing, developers have been free to create whatever software they can imagine for computers. Windows, Mac, UNIX, Linux, Atari, Amiga, Apple II, Commodore 64 – it doesn’t matter. Come up with an idea, and short of doing something destructive on the system, you can make it work on a computer. It’s this freedom that has made the computer age possible. Game consoles have been different, a relic of the days when cartridges were physical objects you put in the machine. But mobile devices have generally acted more or less like computer platforms – look at Windows Mobile, Symbian, Linux, Android, Palm OS, Palm’s Web OS, and so on. It wouldn’t be odd to expect the same of the iPhone or iPod touch, which is essentially a Mac running on a low-power platform with a mobile-optimized set of libraries. The iPod doesn’t even connect to a wireless phone network; it uses WiFi just like your computer.

As musicians and artists, this sort of freedom has given us the freedom to make expressive music and art using powerful tools. That same freedom hasn’t applied to comparatively restrictive game platforms, which is why music apps for platforms like PSP and Nintendo DS require hacking hardware and software.

But then there’s the iPhone / iPod touch. Apple claims that they create a superior user experience by controlling quality, and they use that control to pick and choose which applications they think are appropriate for their phone. Never mind that a whole lot of what’s available on the iTunes store is simply worthless crap. And, frankly, that’s okay – users pick and choose the good stuff, and a lot of it’s really great.

But far from simply protecting mobile carriers like AT&T from abusive apps, it’s clear from developer experiences that Apple has extended that supposedly superior judgment to second-guessing developers on design and application purpose.

The latest victim: a fully free wireless multitouch server that would empower iPod touch and iPhone users to control live art and perform, created by one of the world’s leading interactive artists, Memo Akten. It seems Apple’s powers that be rejected the app because they simply don’t understand what the heck it is.

The story so far:

I received the following response from Apple: “Thank you for submitting your application “MSA Remote”. We need clarification in regards to the functionality of the application as we do not have access to the interactive installations that the application controls. If possible, please provide login information for a server application we can use to review your application.”

So I sent them 3 desktop apps: a standard TUIO client, a MSATouch client (multiple devices can control a single client without interference), and an OSC Dumper so they could see all the messages being sent in detail.

Even after receiving that documentation, Apple decided that they knew better than their users and developers. Result: no app.

Apple’s response to this app is “We’ve reviewed your application, MSA Remote, and we have determined that this application contains minimal user functionality and will not be appropriate for the App Store.”

I find it hard to believe that a FREE TUIO SERVER for iPhone and iPod touch is not suitable for the App Store!! Please leave comments below if you think it is suitable and I will get back to them to try and sort it out.

MSA Remote for iPhone

TUIO, for the record, is the open multitouch platform employed in the powerful, expressive reacTable tangible interface that has been used by the likes of (Mac user) Bjork.

Let’s be clear. The point here is not just to rant. Memo is looking for comments from users. I’m hopeful that an upswell of support could show Apple the error of their ways and get them to correct course on this one, and I’ll applaud them if they do that.

But let’s also be clear: restrictive platforms are bad for artists. Apple is setting a dangerous precedent, and I’m frankly tired of the conventional assumption that they’re always right. I think the restrictiveness of the platform – well beyond what is “safe” for users or what might endanger Apple’s relationship with carriers like AT&T – is simply wrong-headed. The reason we love platforms like the Mac is that they have empowered us to express ourselves freely. And having seen the power of the Mac as a platform over the years, I’d be disingenuous not to point out that the iPhone has lost a big part of that soul.

The good news is, complaining and whining and griping can be productive. Tweetie, a powerful Twitter app that was censored because it might expose users to profanity on the open Web service, did make its way to the store after massive public outcry.

So, as I say, I don’t rant just because I like the sound of my own typing. I hope that the rest of you will join in, and it’ll make a difference.

  • Oivind

    I am a rather happy iPhone user, but some of the stuff Apple is pulling these days is an embarassment – and this is one of the biggest.

    So, let me get this straight: They'll allow four thousand fart apps and five thousand flash light apps, but an application that could actually make a difference is rejected because it's "too minimal"?


    I really hope Android and the Palm Pre (which I'll certainly take a long, hard look at once it arrives in my neck of the woods) force Apple to open/lighten up a bit, because this is beyond stupid.

  • I sincerely hope that Apple will rethink their position on this. I for one would LOVE to have my hands on this, and contrary to Apple, I do not think it represents "minimal user functionality".

  • The Android is a perfect case: it has none of these kinds of restrictions. On the other hand, it also doesn't have multi-touch support in the current software, so it's actual capabilities where you hit the wall rather than the licensing terms / publication process. And I'm still trying to sort out exactly how you could get C/C++ code (or even Java code outside the Android API) onto Android through official channels, whether that's even possible. Memo is working on porting OpenFrameWorks to iPhone, because it can support that sort of thing – well, if Apple doesn't intervene, that is.

    Anyway, that's what I mean when I say this isn't entirely black and white. Ironically, Apple gives you more power as a developer – then cripples you when it comes time to publish. It's infuriating.

  • Silverfish

    It's things like this that provoke people to circumvent EULAs, copy protection, etc, etc. I think Cydia is all the proof apple needs that their method is flawed. There should be NO REASON to have to jailbreak an iphone or ipod touch, but when the official channel is so difficult, people find a way.

    I find this situation ironic, considering they just released a product with no interface at all…

  • Android *cough*

  • Sorry Peter, I did not read your comment until I posted. I hope that Android's limitations (namely lack of multi-touch support) are only temporary and will be fixed as the platform matures.

  • FAIL

  • Ian – I agree. But we do need a little more information from Google on the linked library front. I actually raised that partly in the hopes that someone knows what's going on. 🙂

    I think it's fundamentally different. Sales of iPhone programming and Objective-C books are through the roof, and, frankly, I think that's too bad. You can hop on Subversion and pull huge amounts of the Android code to your local machine and have a look. You can distribute an app with incredible ease. That to me makes the Android a much better investment of time. (And my time sure as heck is limited, so I feel that personally…)

    Of course, I'd raised this before and called Apple "restrictive" and people couldn't figure out what I was talking about. Well, this is what I'm talking about.

  • scottl

    agreed – apple is almost continually demonstrating their inability to make valid decisions as to what belongs on the iphone/ipod touch. the interesting thing is that there ARE already some apps that do similar things, such as TouchOSC and OSCemote, but there you have an already prepared interface to deal with.

    i think that may be the issue overall – there isn't an already functioning app bundled with it, or it's more in kit form if it is. the video was certainly impressive but it basically showed proof of concept as far as i could see – it wasn't making lights flash or changing the music tempo. don't get me wrong – a free TUIO server is an AWESOME product, but for joe everyperson there may be a bit of head scratching.

    also a question – if it's free why not distribute through Cydia? arguably, it's destined for the uber dorkbot make magazine DIY crowd – the average iFart user won't have much of a clue as to what to do with it. isn't mrmr, for example, not available except through Cydia?

  • smithers

    I'm not sure how I feel about this. I can understand the motivation to create an app like this so that you can do an installation and tell all of the people they can interact with it using their own device… just download the free app.

    But Apple is trying to keep things simple. They're probably worried about Joe Idiot downloading it, not understanding what it's for, and having that bad experience influence further purchases. Or something.

    Let's not forget that the application distribution model made possible through the app store is thousands of times better than it has ever been in the past (think JavaME app distribution). Be patient.

    To be honest, this is exactly what I would've expected Apple to do.

  • mode

    Could it be that Apple is working on something similar that they plan to charge for? And that's why they don't want this available for free?

  • no flash player + censorship… apple are doing platforms for the 'headless bourgeoisie' showing off , I just ignore them… no need to talk about them

  • smithers, there are already controller clients on the iTunes store. This is simply a case of Apple not knowing what the heck the thing is, as indicated by the comments.

    And that proves what's wrong with the whole model – Apple has made the developers guilty until proven innocent. I had an original-model Palm (pre-3com) and was able to easily install apps on it, so I wouldn't necessarily use botched JavaME as a counter-example. I still think the best comparison is games.

    When Nintendo came out with their approval seal for NES, part of the assumption was that games *physically* wouldn't work, as in the cartridge itself wouldn't be compatible with the machine. Now, that seal of approval was then and is now a joke when it comes to any indication of alleged 'quality.'

    If this were an app that was somehow dangerous or wildly consumed bandwidth, that would be one thing. But Apple's own commentary says, basically, "uh, we don't know what this is," followed by, "since we don't know what this is, it must not be useful to anyone."

    It's simple: let the user and the developer decide that. The App Store is hardly a carefully-cultivated garden. It's a dumping grounds for tons of apps, which Apple then arbitrarily cherry-picks out of according to their whims. I don't think the cherry-picking is a service to anyone. And certainly, in this specific case, I think they're simply wrong.

  • smithers


    Ah ok. Maybe memo needs to make things more clear about what his app is actually used for, then. People like clarity. Maybe he should just parrot what those apps say, just to make Apple happy. Say that it allows you to control:

    "Pure Data, Max/MSP/Jitter, OSCulator, … others"

    Done and done.

  • Ah, but Memo did that already. Again, I'd like to know why it is developers are guilty until proven innocent. Sure, that may actually make some sense with multimillion dollar games for the Xbox. It's completely arbitrary and arrogant to do the same thing with a mobile platform.

    Imagine if Microsoft were peering over the shoulders of Windows or Windows Mobile developers. People would cry bloody murder.

    By comparison, here's RIM's developer site for Blackberry (many carriers add their own, too).
    There's no application process or fee to become a developer or requirement as far as which OS you use to develop. Apple, by comparison, insists you develop on a Mac, a new Intel Mac, a new Intel Mac running Leopard, a new Intel Mac running Leopard after you pay them a developer fee, and then after all of this they can choose whether or not to distribute your app at their leisure. The actual tools really are exceptionally good, as is the platform. But that just makes this other nonsense all the sillier.

  • I think Memo needs to add some fart noises to it. Or a beer-drinking-simulator-for-OSC type of deal. That is apparently what it takes to get going with the App Store.

    I mirror the thoughts given above; Apple has some shit lined up already, trying to quell the competition.

  • 639me

    i'll definately use this app when i'll be getting my first iphone soon. along with the other tols that uses osc. the ones that utilizes the multi touch features are particularly interesting!

  • john

    He should just tell them its a controller app for interactive iPhone farts…

    Apple's arrogance extends far beyond the iPhone app store.

    I guess a hypothetical question is, will the iPhone app store model eventually be pushed on the entire apple computer platform at some point in the future? Since they know best what is best for you, plus they would get a piece of all platform software sales.

  • Paul N


    I am all for "all things open"- but at the same time- the control apple exert over their products, whether they make the call we want them to make or a different choice- is the same control that has made them a platform of choice among creatives for as long as I have been working. I find it very interesting how the iphone has fallen prey to user expectations and suddenly there is regular outcry from this site, digg and countless others as though they are just being jerks or just plain unfair. The same logic is in play that has kept their hardware controls and software updates in sync all these years – even if they did make an objectively "bad call" here by some estimations.

    It does seem logical at this point to show some support for the app and beg an appeal to the initial decision- but I can't help but think editorial voices like yours bear some responsibility as to the nature of the consumer/developer approach to dealing with the company- aka- as you bring up microsoft you seem to suggest that people haven't been crying bloody murder every time an app is not immediately propped on itunes store- yet I have seen more articles and complaints on the subject or conjecture on/condemnation of their policy than I care to count (since version 1's release.) It seems to me that there is a good deal of entitlement surrounding how people regard the "right" to develop for and profit from the iphone.

    If android is better and they are so much cooler to developers- then it should be a moot point- but people wish to benefit from the installed user base (and even a free app amounts to some amount of self promotion.) Apple have every right to require whatever they feel like requiring from developers and as a dedicated user I appreciate the care that goes into ensuring that I am never returned to the driver hunts new products used to begin when resolving compatibility issues on windows machines back in the 90s.

    Maybe none of this matters anymore and all is well in the other worlds of computing I remain mostly blissfully ignorant of- but as an apple customer who never buys on release dates, I feel 99% confident with all product purchases that all will go smoothly as I work the machine into my little universe- and so far, 100% of the time it has. If this dedication of theirs creates a little red tape for developers, so be it, because I am hardly going to put their experimentation/ careers ahead of my own professional and consumer agendas.

    Maybe this app is a dream come true, maybe not, maybe it is flawlessly designed and fulfills a huge consumer demand- or maybe it doesn't- but if apple won't take it than either appeal for reconsideration or don't. It seems like, no matter what was included, the developer's failed outright to communicate what it was for to the satisfaction of their criteria- I am ready willing and able to accept this as programmer types/developers are not exactly notorious for effective communication.

    The "no fair" call always gets immediate support from apple hating types and may seem at that moment "the will of the people" but I, for one, would change absolutely nothing about how apple streamline user experience and suggest that developers and editorializing types consider how many of me are quietly watching and thinking they have a right to demand not one damn thing from apple and that we are very happy with this company that has minimized our fixing and head scratching time in favor of creative up time. It is not to say this app or anything to do with iphone would disrupt that- I am merely saying that in choosing to develop for such a widely adopted platform, one chooses to stand on the shoulders of a very standardized giant. To complain about the standards when they work against you after having chosen to stand on said shoulders… well, it seems akin to complaining about the view.

    Maybe (likely) I will be condemned for my thoughts on the matter- whatever! Doesn't matter, because at the end of the day my user experience is covered and the products I need and choose to buy are there and doing their jobs. Maybe one day I'll be sitting on the next killer app and will fall prey to all that I endorse above- and if I am distraught about it I'll just have to pick myself up off the ground and walk it off or try my best to make it work out in the end. I doubt that campaigning against them would be time well spent as it hardly has anything to do with the original intended accomplishment at that point.

    Creating/continuing a scenario where apple is "the man" doesn't really seem conducive to clearing the path for better relations. I feel that articles like these that speak in such a tone only further polarize app store management and policy from the developers.

    Maybe I misinterpret your intent- and so I follow with: "BEST SITE EVER MAN, LOVE IT" As to be sure not to offend.

  • Apple is more like Microsoft every day.


    is there no other way to get it on the iphone/pod ?
    if there are other ways then distribut it over the
    he would like to give it away for free so whats the point for the store?
    he dont need them….

  • Paul, no offense taken — debate and discussion is what it's all about, so I welcome opinions other than my own! The problem as I see it is, what you're describing is *drivers*, and I'm talking *apps*.

    Imagine if Apple made Ableton redesign the UI for Live because they thought it looked non-standard. This has nothing to do with the reason people choose the Mac as a creative platform.

    And Apple's objection here wasn't stability, it was "user functionality." Which is to say, this app did something they didn't understand, so they censored it. Plain and simple.

    Imagine if Apple didn't allow Excel, or PageMaker, or Photoshop, or Pro Tools because they had a competing app. Or because they didn't understand what those apps were for. Or because someone could type an obscenity into Word.

    I hear what you're saying, and maybe there's an argument for this. But I'm not going to rewrite computer history just to justify Apple's call here.

    I remember getting my shrink-wrapped MacAddict magazines back in the 90s and cheerfully reading about reasons people chose the Mac. None of them had to do with Apple's "control" over the platform. I mean, call me naive, but as I recall people chose the Mac for specific instances of superior hardware and software engineering, or — ironically enough — *third-party apps*.

    There's no way to spin Apple's ignorance of their own developers as some kind of pro for the iPhone.

    And what the hell position is Apple in telling developers they have to justify *to Apple* writing software for the platform. I mean, sorry, but Cupertino is not the reason Apple is still in business. Developers are. To say on the mobile platform it's their job to explain to Apple why they should be allowed to release an app they've spent long hours developing, that's just absurd and abusive.

    And I'm not saying you should stand on Apple's shoulders and then complain. I'm saying if this doesn't get fixed systematically, developers and users should flee the platform. So, I don't know how to make it any plainer than that.

  • @hiltmeyer:
    The alternative would be to force people to jailbreak their phones and use Cydia. And yes, I believe the latest version of the mrmr controller is in fact on Cydia. Cydia, as it happens, is a front-end to the Apt packager from Debian (and by extension, Ubuntu) Linux.

    I don't think everyone wants to jailbreak, though. But that would be the alternative.

    I think Memo's hope — and certainly my hope — is that Apple will change course on this. Now, maybe ranting about it is polarizing, but then, I think it's really in Apple's court to justify why they're blocking apps, more than it is our responsibility to somehow tiptoe around their feelings. You know, it's our hours (in Memo's case) spent developing the software and our dollars spent on their devices.

    Also, why always the Microsoft comparison? Microsoft certainly had its anti-competitive moments, but they have tended to be relatively developer friendly. That's not that I'm saying I love everything Microsoft does, but I think the bottom line is, both Apple and Microsoft are big companies I don't always agree with. It's hard to turn them into an adjective. I hope that other companies don't emulate Apple's way of doing business in this case, because I don't think it's why people buy iPhones. I think they buy the devices because they're slick and beautifully designed.

  • jordan314

    This makes me feel better–I had an app rejected for "Minimal User Functionality" too. Granted, it was way lamer than this, but what the hell, apple? Why not let the millions of app store users decide which apps are worthwhile?

  • It's sad that Apple is showing a lack of understanding in this case. I say, why not releasing the source code + a tutorial describing how to compile the app, letting the user compiling and uploading it themselves. Do you need a iPhone sdk for that ?

  • as a recently adopted android user i can honestly say that it should be ported to android and fast. I'm dying for a few good osc/midi controller apps.

  • Apple is skirting around the real reason they rejected the application. It essentially provides their gimmicky multi-touch display to other computing platforms, effectively enabling a form of multi-touch on them easily.

    Apple doesn't want this. They are sort of trying to 'own' the multi-touch space in the eyes of the consumer. Making the iPhone/iPod touch into a multi-touch server for non multi-touch platforms gives away some of what Apple is perceiving as their own domain. They are probably releasing larger touch tablets or devices soon that this work maybe cannibalize (in their minds).

    Considering there are some iPhone apps that just make fart noises… there is even one that just puts virtual 'dust' on the screen you can repel with your finger drags… I doubt it has anything to do with their not understanding the app or actually finding it to be 'limited' in functionality.

    If I was the developer, I would add some sort of frivolous visualization toy on the iphone itself that can be turned on or off. Drag your finger around and it creates simple waves of particles or … repels dust balls… on the iphone screen. Bill it as interactive art that can also 'optionally' talk to other interactive art. When they reject it again they may have to actually tell the truth…

  • Brendan

    Apple should re-think their position on this app.

    There's no way this app represents “minimal user functionality”, the functionality is awesome – no doubt it appeals to a relatively small number of users, but those users are creative pioneers… you know, the kind apple built it's reputation on.

    Seems apple is more interested in putting drm chips into headphones these days anyways. (booo, hisssssss)

  • @Neil: There are other applications that route multitouch input as controller data to other software, as others here have noticed. I seriously doubt that that's the problem.

    You know, it's not necessarily that there's a conspiracy here or something. 🙂 I'm assuming what happens is there's some sort of fairly bureaucratic process that goes through the massive number of submitted apps. This just seems to be a case when they screwed up. What I'm saying is, that demonstrates the need for either greater openness or, at the very least, clearer guidelines. But I think Apple is contented to shift responsibility to developers in a way that is unprecedented on this type of platform.

  • Paul N


    Fair enough- my lack of distinction between apps and drivers noted- however, I think there is a huge amount of difference between the nature of the apps you listed and what seems to be more of a multitouch control surface utility to me. In other words- sure, I'd get hot and bothered about my bread and butter being stolen- but I'm not gonna kick the dog over a broken christmas ornament. I think your point somewhat marks the distinction in my mind between a significant concern and a trivial complaint. As I understand it, the iphone was designed for communication and entertainment; as opposed to our aluminum wrapped workhorses which were designed to function at such a level as to get us paid in return for our costly investment into them- and I regard that as a more than a significant difference in what I should expect them (apple) to regard as a priority for end users. I believe in the rights of consumers and developers to expect certain things- but I tend to have the same reaction to this sort of iphone controversy as I would a world of warcraft player demanding restitution/pro-rated service for short periods of server downtime.

    Similarly- shrinkwrapped magazines of the 90s a shared joy between us- apple in the age of OS X is accountable to far more customers than they were in the 90s and these (ultimately hardware related) controls I mentioned have helped them triumph where certain os's have seemingly failed (and not without stumbles like the nvidia meltdown of the past year) in the eyes of this increased customer base. I don't think driver related technologies are unrelated to apps and development concerns- but with regards to what people were loving about their macs in the 90s, from what I remember there was lots of spew re: intel underwriting vs. throughput on motorola chips and the word "wintel" was synonymous w/ inadequacy in any mac user forum. I point this out as we now use intel chips quite happily- I am not sure if the concerns of the 90s would have much to do with why I and many others use apples now.

    I am hardly espousing the iphone and find it a wholly absurd expense in an age where rampant consumerism has pushed our economy (the rest of the way) to the brink. My address was specifically to the fact that this phone + toyz has had some people calling foul and implying Apple are some kind of big brother figure for exerting control over their own product. The iphone IS a glorified toy at the end of the day and a lot of idiots own it along with all the geeks or whatever we want to call ourselves. Yes, some smart cookies can make it do backflips- but it is hardly the livelihood generating device I would raise my hackles over.

    I must say, based on what we HAVE been provided with for the sake of discussion, that the developers have failed at the simple act of clarifying the product purpose in clear (to the uninitiated) terms and have also not clearly identified the user base for someone unfamiliar with the relevant technologies. It seems to me a little time spent clarifying communication of purpose would go a lot further than righteous indignation as far as securing the desired outcome. Had I been able to figure out what they were saying the app was without checking back a few times I might jump on the outrage train too… but that's just another moot point.

    I appreciate your response and your passion for the development community- I just think a certain amount of care should be applied to any situation like this as too much fuss may actually cause more trouble for developers in the long run- where calm effective communication might ease relations.

  • Paul, fair points. However:
    * So far, it's been widespread outcry that has seemed to change opinions at Apple.
    * Memo did accurately describe the app's function, and provided specific information Apple requested (that is, they wanted to see what the app would be controlling).
    * Apple is, to my knowledge, the only non-game-specific mobile device vendor that places the responsibility with developers to justify that an application is useful enough to run on the device.

    If you really want to avoid people wasting money on toys, then I'd say make those devices flexible as far as running applications with different purposes.

  • Fred, for once, we agree — writing for Android instead sounds like a great idea. (I'm hopeful hardware multitouch will appear in a future update, ditto linking that would allow native synthesis libraries. Many other applications not using multitouch or synthesis are possible now.)

    Still don't understand anything else you're saying and not sure you follow this whole "on blog, write opinions" concept, but at least we reached one of the same conclusions.

  • Mar

    This is want I want you to do:
    Instead of challenging the most brilliant minds apple could spare to judge the usability of software for the iphone, I want you to develop for a company which welcomes your contribution and appreciates your input.

    AppStore is something different.
    It's probably much harder to get a shiny box of your software on the shelves of a local store.
    I think AppStore is flooded with things and I have a hard time finding something useful (but I know it's there – I know…) so they decided to do something about it.
    But even the most wise and informed can be wrong. And the people in question are probably neither of both.

    So there is another thing I want you to do.
    If they've done you wrong, try six times over the course of at least 3 Months and then try again. If they still don't accept you can complain.
    There are probably fourteen million bloggers downloading the iphone SDK at this very moment – just to prove that apple are a bunch of totalitarian dictators about their software.

    Whats my point?
    Peter Kirn wrote:
    "And what the hell position is Apple in telling developers they have to justify *to Apple* writing software for the platform."

    Well Apple promote and sell the apps – they should be very careful.
    Are you not the hell in position to decide which ads are shown on your site?

    Good luck distributing apps for psp and the like.

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  • Armando

    Hack the planet!!! Hack the planet, hack the pla…. Get your ass in the car! Fight the power! I want/need this app!

  • victor morales

    Apple please reconsider, we ant this!

  • victor morales

    i mean want!

  • Come on Apple. Loosen up, we want this.

  • Jobot//

    Are you kidding me? Rejected on what real grounds?

    I can pay 1000 dollars for a app that serves to be nothing more than a status symbol to say "I have too much money!" of a rotating red jewel, but something with usability such as this, where the uses are endless for motion, music, hell, anything you wanted… is rejected?

    i'm sorry Mar, but I'm with Peter here, and you're so very wrong. Apple promotes and sells the apps, which has a very low cost since nothing physical is being sold out, it's all 1's and 0's transferred via the internet. They need to be careful and not bulk up their online store with bullshit like aforementioned red jewel app, or ibeer, or other dumb shit that is completely meaningless and contributes to nothing and no one. I would buy this apps for the ipod touch/iphone. It's a meaningful and useful application.

    If apple is concerned about what Brendan stated, then they should give a real reason to reject the application. My thoughts are, there are still plenty of peple out there jailbreaking their iPod Touch/iPhones and plenty of them are on the in scene of OSC/MIDI control via external devices. I'd jailbreak mine for this alone. I have no issues with free apps, and Cydia is making it more possible for more and more devs to get their apps out there.

  • ~

    this is bull*hit

    This is exactly the reason why Apple will parish… they are not truly open where as you can not freely create/develop or share on their platforms… control which is what they want and need.

  • Mar

    It's been those "fun"-apps that put Apple
    under pressure to do something.
    There are probably thousands of devs trying to
    spam the store or make a fast buck.
    They may be wrong about this particular
    I don't want to defend apple and maybe the have
    a bad team on the job but I think the developer
    has to convince the shop-owner to get the spotlight.
    It's still easier than anywhere else.

  • @Mar: But that's the thing — it's not a store, it's a device *you* own. Apple are the ones who have decided they'll be the exclusive conduit for apps. The issue here is that means it's absolutely possible for Apple to do something that's contrary to the interests of users.

    And I have to challenge the idea that it's "easier" to get an app on the App Store for iTunes than anywhere else. I think that's simply wrong. Look at the process for Android or Windows Mobile. Now, maybe the developer tools are better, maybe the market is better, maybe the device is shinier – I'd take any of those arguments. But it just isn't true that it's easier to sell an app via Apple's store arrangement.

    The one place it is harder is on the mobile game devices and, with the exception of Microsoft's fairly good XNA, on the consoles.

    I mean, that's not to say you can't make some very convincing pro-Apple arguments, but you just can't argue this is better. If Apple really wanted to make this convincing, they'd make the requirements clearer.

    Anyway, let's give them the benefit of the doubt and assume we're troubleshooting some of the stuff that's following through the cracks — I still say, in this case, I hope this can be corrected.

  • dosle

    I can think of a variety of ways to use this with various applications. If they wont approve the app because they 'don't get it' and that's their customer understanding then it is way off.

    Only those that purchase an application without understanding what it's use is _is_ at fault. Allow the consumer to decide.

  • scottl

    @ peter: all other questions aside regarding the right to post apps you want to an iphone (which i agree with in principle), the main issue im asking here, is, why did apps like TouchOSC and OSCemote get accepted while this one got rejected? they both do much the same thing, spitting out data to receiving devices via a client/server model. i think the biggest difference is: 1. providing a tangible real world style interface that users can see results – moving sliders, pressing buttons, etc. 2. providing many helpful videos showing the software controlling devices in real world settings (In TouchOSC it shows how someone hooked it up to Osculator thereby making it relevant to the MIDI based crowd).
    i'm not sure if they had these videos and documentation in place when they were seeking approval to sell it on the app store – it'd be interesting to poll rob and joshua and see what they say about the approval process and how they fared.
    my point is that Memo's app doesn't show anything at all visually when it's working – just a splash screen of sorts. we only got to see output at the desktop level on a separate app. do you know of any iPhone app which doesn't display much but a blank screen while it's working (OK, OK, maybe Flashlight). it's obvious from the video that it can be configured but while it's working there's no clue as to whats going on on the unit itself. joshua at least displayed the individual touches on the screen in OSCemote, and gave visual readouts of the accelerometer (rob however, did not do this on TouchOSC).

    i think the answer is that the author simply did not provide a real world (or real world enough) nuts-and-bolts solution or demonstration of the app. apple is definitely in the wrong here, but i don't think they're being frivolous in setting their requirements. have some of the developer's friends submit videos of them controlling Live or Max/MSP and that should help.

  • Well, that's ascribing a great deal of higher intelligence to Apple's review process without any real evidence. Did they go to the project sites? Did they spend the time everyone on this comment thread just has? Doubtful.

    I think it's incredibly generous to have to sit hear and *guess* what the heck Apple's policy even *is* and think that it's a sound policy.

    This has gone on long enough. Developers have fumed for months about the lack of a clear policy.

    1. Apple asked for clarification on the app.
    2. Developer gave Apple clarification.
    3. Apple decided they know better than the developer and potential users what the functionality was and killed it.

    Now, there's a remedy, and the responsibility is Apple's, not the developer's. It's Apple's responsibility to clarify their terms or have some sort of reasonable appeal process.

    Alternatively, the conclusion I've reached:
    4. Switch to a different platform.

    If, as some have eloquently put it, it's the relationship you have with the vendor that makes the platform, then, well, Apple, it's not you, it's me.

  • So, has anyone emailed this post to Mr. Jobs yet?

  • Probably they just don't want people design their own multitouch applications. They are slow in developing those and need to make time so they can sell last year's ideas during next year.
    Or even more probably: They just didn't get it. Happens all the time.

  • ~

    I really need this application to learn… please release it!

  • This would be a great app to have around. I wonder whether Apple are being actually deliberately antagonistic to the developers, and are simply being obtuse. Maybe they need to see a concrete example of what this would bring to /users/ (rather than developers).

    Of course that's unlikely to happen without the app in place! For framework-extending apps like this – they initially only support the development community, and go on to be of use to all developers only after a tiimelag (when developers take this up, and integrate into their interactive installations)…

    This may be hard to see when you're approving thousands of applications – I presume they want to make everything of 'immediate-use' to end-users, and stop people hijacking the app store for closed-purpose ends (e.g. to install something that only works in a particular closed wifi network)…

  • mike

    It's time to make some music. 🙂

  • velocipede

    I would probably not use MSA Remote, but I think it would be a great tool for many and would like to see Apple make it available.

    I think Apple made a mistake on this one either out of lack of understanding or because they perceived a conflict with some upcoming feature that they plan to offer themselves. The latter seems rather unlikely.

    This is the kind of creative, novel use of their products that Apple has always boasted about.

    By the way, I don't think that the "…conventional assumption that [Apple is] always right…" has been true for some time, if it ever was.

  • I really dont see why Apple wont just let this one by… it seems like the community wants it…

  • Alex

    put it on cydia!!!!

  • I find myself sticking up for Apple a lot lately, but this is just ridiculous.

  • Rob P.

    Every time I see Apple do another faux-pas, I can't help but mentally compare what Apple was in the 80's, vs now:

    Remember the "1984" ad where the hammer thrower was a burst of creative color in an otherwise gray Orwellian dystopian nightmare? Seems back then they were the "freedom fighters for all thats good and true" in a banal IBM world.

    And now they have apparently become what they detested – the open-ended creativity and "free thinking" model has been replaced by conformity and censorship.

    Don't get me wrong, I really feel that Apple pushes the envelope of technology by their elegant simplicity of design and form. Without them, computers and gadgets today would be different and for the worse. But their practices of late makes me really rethink all the dishing we did/do about Microsoft. Really.

    So when do we get their company-issued gray uniform, complete with barcode forehead tattoo? Required wearing in order to use an Apple product. Oh, but everyone must have one to be cool.

  • anon

    great app, i would like to have it.

  • Paul N


    I think the above Orwellian bit is a nice way of pointing out exactly what I am talking about- Apple have not changed as a company for running their itunes store a certain way. Apple are not issuing uniforms and barcodes to some dystopian citizen/prisoners. They are running a successful business that they built and a distribution system they maintain and developed in the first place.
    The kind of reaching and conspiracy theorizing being done here is the kind one sees from PC fanboys on digg. This discussion has derailed itself and all you are doing here is furthering a sense of cynicism and derision in the process as opposed to encouraging developers to deal with common setbacks in development.
    Apple have the right to sell whatever they want in THEIR store and if you follow the above links instead of taking (Peter's) reactionary word for it you can clearly see Apple asked them to improve and resubmit and even instructed them how to share it with others as it is.

    Come on kids. Calling "no fair" and picking up your ball and going home isn't gonna get that app in people's hands.

    Go to Android or don't- but entitlement issues are for teenagers, not developers. Maybe jumping through Apple's hoops now will teach you a thing or two for later on when you deal with far more complicated and less open models- which, most scenarios for product distribution are.

  • Paul,

    This is an open comment thread, not a moderated discussion. There's nothing to derail, because anyone can post anything they want whenever they want.

    I'm not telling anyone this is Orwellian; I think I was pretty reasoned in my argument. You're welcome to disagree with it, but I don't see the position that developers are getting the short end of the stick as being some kind of fanboyism or entitlement.

    Actually, frankly, developers *are* entitled to freely distribute apps for other platforms. It's not an imagined entitlement; it's real.

    I can't advocate direct-to-customer models for business and then turn around and say, wow, Apple, brilliant job going the opposite direction.

    And, look, that has always been my interest and something I've talked about on CDM:
    * direct publishing of music and books
    * on-demand content
    * direct, open developer-to-customer models

    If all I did was rant about Apple, that'd be one thing. But the whole reason I bring this is up is I think there are alternatives.


  • cal

    Let it in tyhe app store APPLE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! WE all want this!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!Limited use is a stupid reason for denial!!!!

  • festival

    Strange story.

    The ipod applications hits the number >20000 and this one was rejected?! I guess it's because they don't know who to use it.

  • Lsd25

    Hope apple reconsiders this because it seems like a great devlopment. They have had very limited apps like the ones for individual bands so reconsider apple.

  • nul

    something wrong at the core here…

  • 4938482

    "I don’t see the position that developers are getting the short end of the stick as being some kind of fanboyism or entitlement."

    But I think you do.

    Sure, people can develop applications for Linux, OS X, BeOS, Windows, whatever. The rules are different for the mobile market. Carriers are scared of rogue applications taking down their services. Apple is scared of making carriers unhappy. Mobile application lockdown of this sort has been going on for almost a decade. Clearly nobody here remembers how one once had to develop Java mobile applications. They had to be submitted to the carrier (in the same way Apple requires, mind you) and could also be rejected or accepted.

    Yet, all of the sudden, we're complaining that they won't let someone submit their app to the store. Boo hoo. Even in a system that's hundreds of times more open than any other in the past for the mobile market, we'll find the two cases where there's a hole in the system and make a huge stink about it. Sounds like entitlement to me. Thousands of apps have been made and distributed, creating a market that everyone (yes, including you Peter) will continue to follow and support simply because of this massive user base in the future.

    For those of you that "want" this app so badly, here's my suggestion. Buy/borrow a developer license and program it yourself. He's just sending finger coordinates over a friggin' socket for goodness sake. I swear that can't be more than 200 lines of code.

    If that's not a good solution, I'd tell Memo to suck it up and try again. If someone puts an obstacle in your way, go around it. Stop whining.

  • Alex

    As always: "We are Apple, we rule the world"…stupid company really..megalomaniacs

  • Wait, why is it entitlement and fanboyism for me to say one position but not entitlement and fanboyism to say the exact opposite? Okay, obviously, there's a difference of opinion. But name calling doesn't strengthen your argument. I don't think it's entitlement; I think we both feel passionately about different asepcts of this issue.

    I keep hearing the same argument over and over again, and then the examples is signed Java apps.

    Windows Mobile, Palm, and now this growing Google Android don't work that way. And those devices connect to mobile networks.

    Add to that additional restrictions on third-party hardware, and the fact that there's STILL no sync API, and that everything still runs through iTunes.

    Obviously, all this energy everybody spent on open platforms and open standards was a waste of time.

    Sure, if it were *one app*, I'd be nuts and you'd be right to call me out on it. But we're talking the whole model for applications, third-party hardware, sync, and the desktop client here, and there's a pattern of arbitrary rejections for software.

    And heck, yes, there's a huge market. In case it isn't evident, that's part of what worries me — because I believe in open standards and open platforms, and I think there's a real danger they could go down the drain. There was a reason we liked them in the first place, and it wasn't just some sort of religious fervor; there is practical reasoning behind this. Obviously, you can argue the tradeoffs are worth it. What I'm saying is, I don't see how the restrictions in this case benefit anyone other than the vendor making the device. (And maybe that's the point.)

  • scottl

    i do agree with you – it puts us on a slippery slope. Apple is quite obviously a leader when it comes to creating a viable market for distribution of mobile apps and it's just as likely that their model will be followed by other possibly even more closed off vendors unless there's a strong contender for an open platform. that said, i support the hue and cry, both for and against the issue. it shows that the viability of more open source options (and less arbitrary regulation) is a very real and tangible need on the part of typical readers of CDM, and even though this market is small, it is emerging, and its needs should be taken into account. overall i don't have any fear that open distribution methods could be going away anytime soon, but the squeaky wheel gets the grease…

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  • Richie

    This case seems to be typical in these kind of companys (I worked for one similar). Is too large, too many people in management, too many individual interests.. Left hand forgets the rigth hand.. it's quite funny. System control is for almost everything, but what a human factor? .. I mean the chain is weak as the weakest point.

    As an old-school lover, user of Amiga, C64, Atari loved all these wonderfull machines, I remeber much more enthusiast people (coders, musicians, graphics..) and much more freedom stuff. Remeber demoscene which was often very innovative..

    Todays bizz is the capitalism in extreme. Small company are fused under bigger. It's killing the diversity. Hope somebody understand me..

    Apple is the typical example.

  • B33SON

    So what can we do? Where do we send our complaints… maybe I skimmed too fast, but I totally agree that Apple shouldn't be restricting the Apps in the iStore or at the least should create a separate section in the store for experimental or beta apps. How do we as users petition that Apple provides this?

  • Greg

    Me too! Now I feel like I'm in some kind of club. My app was a simple button that makes a flushing sound when you press it. Sounds like one of those "crap apps" no? Well, yes except that in Japan there are devices (called "Otohime") installed in the bathrooms that do this exact thing and no more and that is just how I was positioning this app – as a novelty version of a real product. When I explained this to Apple, they stood their ground saying I could add more sounds or more user interaction, but that just struck me as adding features with no reasonable justification. Clearly something needs to be done to open the app store kimono beyond case by case appeals here.

  • Greg

    Would it be going too far to start a website devoted to rejected iPhone apps? I was thinking of just a place where people could post the app that got rejected along with the reason and maybe some kind of voting system. Maybe if people see how arbitrary this is then apple will get the hint. We could also sell "app store reject" t-shirts for developers to wear to the next WWDC or Google I/O conference ;^).

  • @Greg
    I was even more disheartened to hear that 96% of all apps were approved. Fail. 🙂
    Yeah there's ad hoc distribution and a new store for apps for jailbroken phones I hear. But neither of these will reach the wild popularity of the app store.

  • Mar

    You have seen how "community driven" projects all of a sudden get strange license agreements.

    The Ipod has been chained to itunes for a
    while now…
    Apple is not the only market leader taking full advantage of their leadership.
    They'd rightfully be criticized by their shareholders if they didn't.

    The only solution is:
    Take your software to a competitor.
    This market will be open until said
    company gains leadership. Then…
    go somewhere else.

  • alessandro

    i'm with you memo.
    i'm also a developer and i think apple should definetively change its way of working about this matter.
    they should just *let the users decide* whether they want to install apps that weren't approved by apple.
    we want to be free to choose.

    p.s. today i bought pears.

  • Brenton

    This is silly. There's already a TUIO app in the store, but it's paid.

    It would be a huge asset to the DIY MT community if we could get a better tool for free!

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  • Witte

    I think it's blatantly obvious that this app is extremely useful and I don't believe for a single minute that anyone at Apple is incapable of seeing that: look at the video! It seems more likely that they may have something like this in the works already and don't want to get a 3rd party involved. Or they realized they should do it themselves *after* checking out the app.

  • Power to the TUIO! Time to free the shackles… Come on Apple show your face!!!

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