updated 06:00 pm EST, Mon December 27, 2010
Change of attitude at Apple, or oversight?
In a strange reversal of policy, Apple on December 15th approved an iOS camera app called Quick Snap whose main feature is a hardware hack called "Volume Snap" -- allowing the use of the volume button to act as a "hard shutter" button for the camera, Wired magazine is reporting. This exact feature was the reason a top-selling competitor -- Camera+ -- was pulled from the App Store in August and only this month allowed to return (minus that feature).
In its rejection letter to Camera+ maker Tap Tap Tap in August, Apple cited the "Volume Snap" feature as a "violation of the iPhone Developer Program License Agreement" because it changed the behavior of iPhone external hardware buttons, which the company said would cause "user confusion." The developers then disabled the feature -- which allowed the app onto the App Store -- but pointed users to a method of re-enabling it, prompting Apple to ban the product outright for the last four months.
Whereas "Volume Snap" was just one of many features touted in Camera+, in the new Quick Snap it appears to be the primary selling point, touting the feature in both its first line of copy and in its promotional screenshots. Why Apple has allowed this app to appear in the App Store when it so recently barred another app with the same feature is a mystery -- it could represent a change of attitude, or it could simply be an error. Apple has been criticized by Wired and other sources for the sometimes inconsistent application of its submission guidelines and policies.
Quick Snap is priced at $2 and requires an iPhone running iOS 3.0 or later. The program also works with the fourth-generation iPod Touch. [via Wired]