Boating and navigation app SeaNav US [Direct Link] reported this morning that Apple is no longer welcoming the app on the App Store due to the mention of Pebble support, or “any other mobile platform”, within the app’s description.
SeaNav notes that its iOS app has been previously approved by Apple with no fuss, and have only faced roadblocks after receiving the rejection email this morning. The app supported Pebble for “nearly 2 years” before today, and the company says the app’s most recent update has “no changes to our support for the Pebble”, hinting that the impending launch of the Apple Watch could be the main culprit of the crackdown on SeaNav.
We have just had the latest version of our SeaNav US iOS app rejected by Apple because we support the Pebble Smartwatch and say so in the app description and meta-data (we also state in the review notes that “This application was approved for use with the Pebble MFI Accessory in the Product Plan xxxxxx-yyyy (Pebble Smartwatch)”. See copy of rejection reason below.
SeaNav US has previously been approved by Apple with no problem, we have had Pebble support in SeaNav for nearly 2 years and there are no changes to our support for the Pebble in this version. What are Apple doing? Have they gone Apple Watch crazy? What can we do?
App Store review guideline 3.1 has covered the prohibition on mentioning competing platforms for some time, but until now developers have generally not had issues with Apple rejecting apps for mentioning Pebble support. With the Apple Watch ready to launch, however, Pebble may now be considered a competing platform.
Apple has been known to deal swiftly with apps it deems questionable on the App Store in the past, but today’s news is definitely interesting given the reason for rejection and the launch of the Apple Watch tomorrow. SeaNav US should be able to resubmit the app after removing all mentions of the Pebble smartwatch from its marketing materials and App Store page, but it certainly leaves an interesting question for the future of Pebble-supported iOS apps, especially Pebble’s dedicated iOS app, presuming SeaNav’s rejection was not the result of a reviewer misunderstanding Apple’s intended application of the guidelines.