Say goodbye to quick and easy audio sharing on your iPhone. Apple has pulled developer Rogue Amoeba's Airfoil Speakers Touch app from iTunes.
Despite requests, Apple has not given Rogue Amoeba a definitive answer on why it decided to pull the 3-year-old app.
"We still do not yet have a clear answer on why Apple has chosen to remove Airfoil Speakers Touch," CEO Paul Kafasis wrote in a blog post on Rogue Amoeba's site. "As far as we can tell, Airfoil Speakers Touch is in full compliance with Apple’s posted rules and developer agreements."
Version three of the Airfoil app, updated last month, used Apple's AirPlay streaming protocol to send, receive and play audio from other iOS devices, including iPods and iPads, along with PCs and Macs when paired with the desktop program. Apple offers its own streaming audio option through Airplay, however the functionality is extremely limited since users can only beam content out to Apple TV or designated speakers.
The Airfoil app allowed users to receive and play streamed audio on their phone -- something Airplay lacks. Not to mention, the costs of Airplay are greater with speciality speaker systems costing hundreds of dollars, whereas the Airfoil app was free.
Apple-centric blog Daring Fireball writes that the reasoning behind Apple's removal of the app surrounds its latest update, which was allegedly not in compliance with Apple's guidelines and license agreement.
"As I understand it, it’s not that Apple yanked Airfoil Speakers Touch after it had been in the store for three years. It’s that they yanked version 3 after it had been in the store for a month," blog owner John Gruber wrote.
The enhanced receiver option was the latest addition to the app, so that feature may indeed be the culprit that drew Apple's attention.
An anonymous Apple tipster reported to Cult Of Mac that "Airfoil Speakers Touch wasn’t yanked arbitrarily, but instead because it duplicates functionality in the still unreleased and officially unannounced iOS 6." Gruber, however, shoots this speculation down, reminding everyone that Apple didn't remove Instapaper from the iTunes app store after it introduced offline support for Safari's Reading List.
This is not the first time Airfoil's app has been pulled from the iTunes app store, either. After its debut in 2009, Rogue Amoeba was forced to make some functionality changes to the app to make it comply to Apple standards. Since Rogue Amoeba believes its current update is in full compliance, it is appealing the decision with Apple's Review Board
Whether or not Airfoil was pulled for its update or because of a similar feature in Apple's next mobile operating system is something only Apple knows. For now, at least.
Smuggle Truck: Operation Immigrant
Boston-based developer Owlchemy Labs irked immigrant advocate groups with this iPhone game that allows users to drive a <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/04/28/smuggle-truck-operation-immigration-rejected-by-apple_n_854899.html" target="_hplink">truck full of immigrants</a> through the desert. According to the AP, "[Developer Alex] Schwartz said he wanted to bring attention to immigration issues." But Apple banned the app from the App Store.
U.S. Senators Chuck Schumer, Frank Lautenberg, Tom Udall and Harry Reid pressured Apple, Google and RIM earlier this spring to remove smartphone apps that notify users of nearby police <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/03/23/senators-ask-apple-to-ban-dui-checkpoint-alert-apps_n_839300.html" target="_hplink">DUI checkpoints</a>. Apple and RIM have since <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/06/09/apple-dui-checkpoint-apps-ban_n_874532.html" target="_hplink">complied</a> with the Seantors' demands and cracked on so-called "DUI checkpoint" apps, but Google has yet to take action.
Despite initially passing Apple's standards, the allegedly anti-gay messages promoted by the app "<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/03/23/apple-exodus-international-app_n_839448.html" target="_hplink">Exodus International</a>" outraged thousands of customers. The Exodus International ministry, from which the app takes its name, <a href="http://blog.exodusinternational.org/about/http://blog.exodusinternational.org/about/" target="_hplink">promotes</a> "freedom from homosexuality through the power of Jesus Christ." After more than 150,000 signatures were gathered for an online petition, Apple removed the app from the App Store entirely.
Hugh Hefner claimed in January that "Playboy" would soon come <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/01/21/playboy-ipad-app-blocked-_n_812489.html" target="_hplink">uncensored on the iPad</a>. Apple, however, remains firm on its nudity-free policy within the App Store and forced "Playboy" to resort to a low resolution web app instead.
The <a href="http://techcrunch.com/2010/12/20/apple-removes-wikileaks-app-from-app-store/" target="_hplink">unofficial WikiLeaks application</a> lasted only three days in the App Store before being banned by Apple.
'The Importance Of Being Earnest'
Apparently Apple's censors worried that Tom Bouden's graphic novel version of Oscar Wilde's <em><a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/06/14/apple-censors-gay-kiss-in_n_611553.html" target="_hplink">The Importance of Being Earnest</a></em>, which portrays illustrations of nude or partially nude men embracing, would be too objectionable for too many users. Apple approved the app, but only with black boxes covering controversial frames. However, the App Store later reversed its decision and passed the app without the censor bars.
Big Brother Camera Security
In 2010, Apple approved the <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/06/15/apple-bans-big-brother-camera-security-iphone-passcodes_n_877481.html" target="_hplink">Big Brother Camera Security app</a>, which lets users remotely photograph someone who is improperly trying to access their stolen or lost iPhone. In June 2010, however, the app was removed from the App Store following accusations that the developer was "surreptitiously harvesting user passwords."
Apple removed the app called "<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/06/23/apple-removes-anti-israel-thirdintifada-app_n_882857.html" target="_hplink">ThirdIntifada</a>" from the App Store, following complaints made by Israel's information minister, Yuli Edelstein and Jewish human rights group Simon Wiesenthal Center. The app was said to promote violence against Israel, according to claims.
Apple initially approved so-called "anti-gay" app <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/11/24/apple-manhattan-declaration-app_n_788075.html" target="_hplink">Manhattan Declaration</a>, but the App Store later removed the program following a wave of complaints--and a petition--from outraged customers. The app asked users to sign a "declaration," which according to the app "speaks in defense of the sanctity of life, traditional marriage, and religious liberty."