Monday, September 11, 2017 [Tweets] [Favorites]

Animoji Rejected From the App Store

Benjamin Mayo:

We are continuing to dig through the leaked iOS 11 GM firmware. We’ve found a brand new feature for the iPhone 8 called ‘Animoji’, which uses the 3D face sensors to create custom 3D animated emoji based on the expressions you make into the camera.

Users will be able to make Animoji of unicorns, robots, pigs, pile of poo and many more.

Ryan Jones:

For the last year I’ve been battling App Store rejections - we made an app called Animoji with animated emojis...now I know why.

Apple (incorrectly) repeatedly rejected it for IP violation. The emojis look nothing like Apple’s and the name wasn’t taken.

We drew them all, not a copied pixel. At the start they looked similar...because 1,000+ apps did! So we changed to flat style...Nope 🤷

I even suspected it and changed the name to “Animatimoji”...Nope.

Ultimately I think rejections were because we actually made a good app! Clear UI, pro animations, great name... Too close to home. 😔

Apple Legal said “Apple owns all derivatives to our Emoji set”.

How that applies to only us and not 100,000 other Emoji apps...🤷

Colin Plamondon:

That Apple is still doing that 8 years after the App Store launched is insane. 6 month review cycle “soft vetoes” since the beginning.

I wish I could say this behavior from Apple is in any way surprising.

Update (2017-09-13): Ryan Jones:

Animoji © Sept 2016

Update (2017-11-09): Ling Wang:

iOS apps cannot use Apple emoji because it violates Apple’s Trademarks and Copyrights. Are you fucking kidding me!🤦

7 Comments

Michael, your site is one of the only popular Apple-oriented sites I know that isn't afraid to hold Apple to account (IMHO certain other sites (*cough DF*) tend to act like Apple's PR outreach). Long may you continue because you serve a valuable role.

>Apple Legal said “Apple owns all derivatives to our Emoji set”.

That's a really disturbing thing to say. There is no "Apple emoji set"! It's part of the freaking Unicode standard! What does it even mean to say that "Apple owns all derivatives to our Emoji set"? Is Apple claiming that they own the Android emojis?

>Michael, your site is one of the only popular Apple-oriented sites I know that isn't afraid to hold Apple to account (IMHO certain other sites (*cough DF*) tend to act like Apple's PR outreach). Long may you continue because you serve a valuable role.

Pretty much all big companies have their moments of overly hostile customer practices. It's not just Apple or Facebook, Google, Amazon, Microsoft etc. It's pretty much all of them, at some time or another. Tech punditry when infused with partisanship (aka single source consumers) are just the worst. How do you know if something is better or worse if you never actually use other products???? As such, I've stopped visiting most of the big Apple centric blogs precisely because of the wishy washy "Apple is usually right even when demonstrably wrong" coverage.

Yet, to be fair, I doubt very many people will defend Apple's position on this issue. They screwed with a developer just to get their app out first....seems like the situation could have been handled much, much better. Poor form really. But when Apple remains the sole gatekeeper to all iOS apps, this problem will continue to surface.

All this is a long winded way of stating my agreement with Keir. On a personal level, my slow slide to never using Apple products* is largely complete, but I still visit this blog essentially daily. Key reason? Mr Tsai has never been afraid to just call things how they are. Not any silly "Sure this could be considered bad, but Apple is still great because someone else is worse at something and Apple knows better than you the customer anyway, so suck it up," type of commentary.

Honestly it's completely refreshing. Additionally, there's a nice spectrum of tech covered here. In fact, I positively adore the various topics posted. Some are Apple specific, some are tangentially Apple related, some are not Apple related at all. It's an enjoyable mix.

*I used to be Mr Apple TV, Airport, Mac, iOS device, amongst a stream of other non Apple devices too to be perfectly honest. My first computer was not an Apple device, but it wasn't an IBM PC or clone either. While my perspective is likely skewed to a non computer holy war view, I was still a devout Mac owner from 1992 to 2014/2015ish). Only Apple devices left? Two older Core 2 Duo MacBooks that now run Linux. Hardware is still okay for it's age, but 10.7 Lion (the last compatible version of OS X on those devices) is a less than thrilling experience. I had a blast for a while, drinking freely and often from the Apple well, but things changed at some point for me....

Lukas,
Perhaps legal departments at big multinationals send out unenforceable but terrifying to normal people correspondence because the average person, even a professional developer, is unlikely to have their own attorneys on retainer to respond in kind to such claptrap?

> Yet, to be fair, I doubt very many people will defend Apple's position on this issue

My guess is that many sites won't even mention it.

I remember, back in 2011, when Google didn't release the source to Honeycomb, explaining that this version was an intermediary release hacked together for tablets, and thus not suitable for a source code release, but that, after refactoring, all of the code would be released with the next Android version.

Apple blogs immediately went bonkers. They wrote scathing sarcastic screeds about Google's "openness", sarcastically quoted Google execs talking about openness, wrote lengthy posts about how bad openness was anyways, how carriers changing Android hurt Google and how closing the source was going to stop that, explained earnestly how Google was now following Apple's footsteps and keeping everything secret. In strange "told you so" articles, people called it a bait-and-switch, and called Googles' execs lying hypocrites. There were even blog posts about how this was a huge win for RIM, and similar oddball interpretations. Oddly, a kind of obscure technical decision on Google's part turned into a huge conspiracy theory on Apple blogs. It was a humongous thing on Apple blogs (perhaps because Apple's closeness is kind of a secret sore spot with many Apple fans, so they jump on any evidence that Android isn't that open, after all).

Then, Google made good on their promise, and released all of the source code. There was exactly zero coverage on Apple blogs. None. No "sorry, we were wrong", not even a link, nothing. If you only read Apple sites, you still think that Google stopped releasing Android's source code, and that closed-source software won.

That's what's so insidious about partisan reporting. It's not just that you get a skewed view of the things that are being reported, it's also that the things that are reported are carefully selected to paint a specific picture. It's not just that you have an odd view of some of the things that are happening, it's that you simply never get to learn anything that contradicts your beliefs.

>My guess is that many sites won't even mention it.

Perhaps that is right. I have not seen much mention of this Animoji issue after Google and DuckDuckGo searches....but again, I don't really visit "Apple" blogs these days.

[…] Note that this is different from Ryan Jones’s more recent Animoji app. […]

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