Home Apple’s App Store Really Doesn’t Seem To Like Pebble Apps

Apple’s App Store Really Doesn’t Seem To Like Pebble Apps

Do apps that work with Pebble’s smartwatch violate Apple’s App Store guidelines? Apple reportedly says no. But for some reason, the App Store keeps rejecting them anyway.

In late April, the App Store rejected a Pebble app called SeaNav US for mentioning Pebble in its metadata. Not long after that story broke, an Apple spokesperson told Business Insider that the company had no policy against Pebble apps. Now another developer’s experience suggests otherwise.

Rejections Going Overboard

The latest app to be hit with a rejection is the Swim.com Pebble Uploader, which is like “Strava for swimming,” according to the app’s developer, Davis Wuolle. The app logs how many strokes a Pebble-wearing swimmer takes, plus lap times, pace and distance. The app uses the Pebble Data Logging API to store swim workout files, and wearers can use the Pebble Uploader to beam that data to their Swim.com accounts.

Wuolle and his team got the app approved back in October, despite a few problems at first.

“They spit it back out several times,” says Wuolle, who believes the App Store’s resolution center didn’t fully understand what the app was supposed to do:

They were giving us a hard time about the metadata, so we ended up cleaning all that up, fixed some small bugs that we had, and we got into the submission process probably three or four times before it actually went through.

Once he explained the uploader’s sole function to the resolution center, something finally clicked at Apple and the app was approved. “From there we really had no issues submitting updates for it under the same name: Swim.com Pebble Uploader,” Wuolle says.

That is, until the app’s most recent update, which added a pop-up notification to tell users that the Uploader would soon be discontinued in favor of a new Swim.com iOS app that supports multiple wearable devices such as the Pebble, Garmin wearables, and the Poolmate Watch.

Wuolle submitted the update on April 27, only a few days after Apple stated it wasn’t rejecting apps connected to Pebble. It didn’t take long to get a rejection notice dinging the app for mentioning “irrelevant platform information in its App Name”:

The rejection notice from Apple over the Swim.com Pebble Uploader update

“We submitted a response in the resolution center saying the app name literally describes exactly what the app does,” says Wuolle, noting that the name—“Swim.com Pebble Uploader”—has remained the same since the app was approved back in October.

“Literally nothing changed except for adding this one pop-up,” he says.

For now, Wuolle is waiting to hear back from Apple about what—if anything—he can do next. The good news is that the fully featured Swim.com iOS app, for which the Pebble Uploader was just a stopgap solution anyway, is available for his users.

“Luckily for us, the app update didn’t contain anything that was critical to users to fix,” he says. “It just contained information about our new app, so they can download our new app.”

I’ve reached out to Apple for comment. In the meantime, Wuolle is still optimistic about Swim.com’s future with Apple, and perhaps its presence on an Apple-made wearable someday.

“We’re really happy that Apple has launched a wearable,” he says. “Obviously the Apple Watch isn’t waterproof enough to swim with officially, and there are some other constraints regarding that. But our goal for Swim.com is to support every wearable possible, and we really don’t want to be exclusive to anyone. We want Swim.com to be available to swimmers no matter which wearable they choose.”

Lead image by Adriana Lee for ReadWrite; other images courtesy of Swim.com

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