Apple rejects another app for "duplicating functionality"
By Chris Foresman | Last updated September 22, 2008 11:42 AM
The saga of iPhone app rejections continues with the story of MailWrangler.
The app is designed to simplify access to multiple Gmail accounts from the
iPhone, but according to developer Angelo DiNardi, Apple has rejected
submission to the App Store for duplicating functionality. This is the same
reason we've seen before with the rejected-but well-reviewed-Podcaster.
Apple states, in the email DiNardi received, "Your application duplicates
the functionality of the built-in iPhone application Mail without providing
sufficient differentiation or added functionality, which will lead to user
As with Podcaster, MailWrangler actually does something that none of the
built-in iPhone apps can do; in this case, it's using multiple Gmail
accounts simultaneously while presenting the full Gmail features only
available from the web interface. Using Mail for the accounts denies the
user several of Gmail's features, like threading and stars, while Mobile
Safari only allows one account to be logged in at a time.
Other apps have been rejected for various reasons, and Apple has been
roundly criticized for applying standards unevenly. But the criticism became
acrimonious after the rejection of Podcaster, prompting the well-known
FlickrExport and Exposure developer Fraser Speirs to swear off iPhone
development until Apple changes its policies on App Store approval.
Though developers have a shot at making serious money from an iPhone app, it
appears that developing iPhone apps is increasingly becoming more of a
gamble-one that developers are none too happy about. "I guess I should just
write another flashlight or glowstick application to actually get
published," wrote DiNardi. While playing it safe might mean getting an app
in the App Store, there are tons of flashlights, tip calculators, and Sudoku
apps to compete against. If developers become afraid that an original app
might somehow "duplicate functionality" in Apple's eyes, we can expect a lot
less useful software in the App Store.