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Apple bans iPhone app for changing version number

Censorship needs no logic

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications

Apple has banned version 1.3 of return7's CastCatcher internet radio service from the iPhone App Store, complaining that it's "transferring excessive volumes of data over the cellular network."

But you can still buy version 1.2, which transfers exactly the same amount of data over the network.

In fact, when Apple complains about 1.3 hogging its network, it's really talking about 1.2. Version 1.3 hasn't even used the network. It never actually made it into the iPhone App Store.

Plus, you can still buy all sorts of other internet radio apps from the iPhone App store, including Pandora, AOL Radio, Tuner, FStream, WunderRadio, and the list goes on.

We say all this only to show that even logic is powerless in the face of Apple's iPhone app censorship.

CastCatcher version 1.3 differs from version 1.2 in four small ways:

  • Adjustable buffer size (see Preferences on your iPhone)
  • Experimental AAC+ support (works w/ 2.0.2 but not 2.1 - bug report filed w/ Apple for assistance - this feature is NOT supported)
  • Minor fix around Icecast metadata
  • Fixed crash on downloading invalid playlist files

But when it was submitted for review, Apple replied like this: "CastCatcher Internet Radio cannot be posted to the App Store because it is transferring excessive volumes of data over the cellular network, which as outlined in the iPhone SDK Agreement section 3.3.15, is prohibited."

return7 CEO Amro Mousa is not pleased. "Our disappointment stems from the inconsistency of the decision and not the decision itself," he tells The Reg. "Three other versions of CastCatcher plus many other music applications were already approved. We understand the concern of burdening cell networks but believe it should be left to the carriers to control via their mobile plans. If a mobile plan allows up to 5GB of data, we believe the user should be able to use their 5GB of data."

Since the initial rejection, he has resubmitted version 1.3. But he's not holding his breath. ®

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