Thursday, June 25, 2020

HEY Approved With Trial

Marco Arment:

I bet they come to a compromise where neither side has to lose face and “back down”, such as Hey adding some free functionality such that the app can do something without a purchase but also without adding IAP. (Apple’s letter effectively invited them to do this.)

Jason Fried (also: David Heinemeier Hansson, Hacker News):

Phil Schiller, Apple’s Senior Vice President of Worldwide Marketing, told us the kind of changes he’d love to see us make. His primary objection was “You download the app and it doesn’t work, that’s not what we want on the store.”


This new version introduces a new free option for the iOS app. Now users can sign up directly in-app for a free, temporary, randomized email address that works for 14 days. Think of it like a temporary SIM card you buy when traveling. Or for when you don’t want to give out your real email address, like a short term “for sale” listing, like Craigslist does it.

Rory Prior:

This is not really a great look for either Apple or Hey. If the solution was just ‘add a demo’ (in all but name) then it’s more contorting of the rules to save face. Very much doubt this will become a blanket exception for other developers.

It’s especially weird because the guidelines have always forbidden demos. So why would adding a demo give the app an out for the obligation to use IAP? If you accept Apple’s reading of the guidelines for reader apps and business vs. consumer, the proposed changes address none of the violations. Absent the controversy, it seems unlikely that this would lead to approval. But what Basecamp has done is clever, because (I guess) you can keep signing up for temporary addresses. Instead of being a time-limited demo for a regular e-mail provider, the spin is that it’s a fully-featured client for a temporary e-mail service.

David Heinemeier Hansson:

Apple has definitively approved HEY in the App Store!! No IAP, no 30% cut, but we’ve opened the door to a free temp address service, and use same app for work accounts.

Good for them, but it’s now even less clear what the guidelines mean. I expect that other apps that try to just “add a demo” or unrelated functionality will be rejected, although perhaps FastMail could create a similar randomized e-mail service.


2 Comments RSS · Twitter

The rules are even less clear now. After Phil’s email and this approval, it seems like an app which is a frontend to a service sold elsewhere is no longer allowed unless it either “does something” or has IAP.

I wonder how it will affect Reincubate’s upcoming product, Camo, where the iPhone app is an accessory to the Mac app. I can’t think of any functionality they could add that would make the iPhone part of Camo useful without the Mac app.

@Anonymous Yeah, is the idea that it’s OK to “not do anything” without a hardware peripheral (e.g. a Nest Cam), but the app can’t not do anything without paying for a service (unless it’s Netflix or “business”)? And banking apps and the like are OK even though they don’t do anything without an account?

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