By Harry McCracken | Saturday, November 14, 2009 at 11:57 pm
Bobble Rep, the iPhone application that lets you find and contact your senators and members of congress and which depicts them as bobblehead dolls, is no longer an app non grata. After initially rejecting the program, Apple has done an about face and pushed it through to the App Store. (On my iPhone, at least, it’s profoundly hobbled by error messages I’ve never seen before–but the program is only 99 cents, so I can live with the disappointment.)
The tale of Bobble Rep–app is submitted, app is rejected, controversy ensues, app is accepted–is a remarkably common one on the App Store. Yes, I know that the fast majority of programs submitted are quietly accepted without incident. But of the ones that are initially nixed, a high percentage seem to make it into the store eventually. (Offhand, the only apps I wish I could get that Apple has denied me are Google Voice and the 3G-capable version of SlingPlayer; if there’s a bad guy in the latter instance, it’s AT&T, whose terms of service specifically prohibit apps that reroute TV over its network.)
Apple, in other words, usually manages to do the right thing–it’s just that it sometimes does it after doing the wrong thing and getting slapped around in the blogosphere. Wouldn’t it be more efficient for everyone concerned–and less embarrassing for Apple and the iPhone platform–if it figured out it should really approve these apps before rejecting them and sending so many people into a tizzy? I’m a mere bystander, and I can usually tell which rejected apps Apple is going to reverse itself on. Can’t someone within Apple figure out the same thing, and just fast-forward to the correct outcome?