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Jobs jumps in to free private APIs

Video streaming on iPhone opens appgates

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Steve Jobs personally intervened to approve a video streaming application for the iPhone, leading to approval for other applications that also make use of private APIs.

P2P video-streaming application Knocking Video was rejected by Apple on the grounds that it uses an undocumented "private" API to scrape the screen, which is then streamed to another iPhone, but the author petitioned Steve Jobs himself and got the application approved in what appears to be a change of policy on private APIs.

Many existing iPhone applications make use of private APIs, as Brian Meehan, lead developer on Knocking Video, pointed out to Mr Jobs in his petitioning email, but that was before Apple introduced automated scanning that catches references to private APIs even if they're never called by the application.

Apple doesn't want developers using private APIs so it remains free to change them when it feels inclined. But that didn't stop Mr Meehan, who explained to Ars Technica that he thought Knocking Video was worth fighting for.

It seems that his persistence, along with Jobs' largesse, is paying dividends for other developers too, OGP Consult found out on Monday:

"During our review of your application we found it is using a private API, which is in violation of the iPhone Developer Program License Agreement section 3.3.1... While your application has not been rejected, it would be appropriate to resolve this issue in your next update."

So somewhere inside Cupertino is a list of developers who'll have to be tipped the wink if changes are made to the private APIs used, but that's going to upset those developers who got their applications rejected for the same reason - assuming Apple's inconsistent policies haven't turned them off iPhone development completely. ®

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