Steve Jobs steps in and reverses app rejection for live streaming iPhone app

Tue, Dec 1, 2009


After having their app rejected from the iTunes App Store for employing private API calls, an iPhone developer from Pointy Heads Software penned a letter to Steve Jobs imploring him to re-consider the decision.

The app in question is called Knocking Live Video and enables iPhone 3G and 3GS owners to stream live video streams to iPhone and iPod Touch users.  Ars Technica, who broke the story, writes:

You simply launch the app and “knock” another iPhone user with Knocking Live Video installed. That user will receive the “knock” via push notification. Once answered, you can then stream live video directly to them.

The app, however, relies on a private API function call that allows it to capture live frames from the iPhone screen, which explains how it’s able to work on the video-less iPhone 3G.  Speaking to Ars, Pointy Head developer Brian Meehan stated that the Knocking app “uses a form of screen capture to create live moments which we have built a complex algorithm around.”  But again, running afoul of Apple’s developer rules resulted in the app being rejected 30 days ago.

Remaining determined, Meehan penned a letter directly to Steve Jobs and focused on how the app could work to “culturally change how people share live moments phone-to-phone.”

Meehan ended up composing a passionate plea to Apple’s CEO, explaining he has been frustrated and disheartened with the app approval process, which often leaves developers wondering and waiting with little or no response from Apple about any potential problems. He pointed out that there are other apps that had been approved using the same private API call—though it was prior to Apple’s suspected use of automated analysis software that can comb through code and spot references to unapproved APIs. Meehan even “humbly” requested that Jobs himself review a demo of the app and reconsider it for approval. He then fired off the e-mail to Jobs at 11pm on Saturday, November 21.

The following Monday, Apple contacted Meehan and informed him that the app would be allowed into iTunes, with orders coming “directly from the top.”  Live streaming video from an iPhone to other devices?  Now that’s a killer app if we’ve ever heard one.  Too bad its actual usefulness rests in part on AT&T’s shoulders.


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