Official Google Voice app might already be approved

Google Voice logo.It’s been more than a year since Apple pulled the original Google Voice app from the App Store, claiming that the product “duplicated existing functionality.” Some third-party GV apps have since made their way to the App Store, thanks in part to Apple’s decision to release app guidelines to the public. If TechCrunch is right, it sounds like the official Google Voice app may already be approved, marking the triumphant return of one of the most anticipated applications to the iPhone.

Here’s what TC had to say:

The App Store review office at 1 Infinite Loop has officially frozen over: we’ve gotten word that the official Google Voice application is on its way to the iPhone in the next few weeks. In fact, we’ve heard from a source close to Google that it’s already been approved — Google just needs to revamp the application to work with the iPhone 4 and iOS’s multitasking capabilities. If you’re a Google Voice user and you’re on an iPhone, this is great news.

No word from Google, but I’m hoping it’s only a matter of time.


Live video streams rush to the app store

iPhone running the Ustream app.There’s more good news for app junkies out there. UStream is now officially available in the App Store, allowing users to stream video content over 3G and Wi-Fi connections. It’s a big step for the app approval process and more like a leap off a cliff for AT&T’s network.

UStream isn’t the first app to offer streaming. That distinction goes to Knocking, another app that paved the way for UStream, proving that both Apple and AT&T would allow such a demanding application to break through the notoriously awful approval process. Of course, it remains to be seen whether the network can actually handle that sort of strain. In fact, AT&T has said several times that high data traffic causes most of the network issues. These apps definitely won’t help that situation.

It’s nice to see developers continue to push AT&T to provide some of the cool options the iPhone has available. Let’s hope AT&T will come around to the idea…right.


Joe Hewitt quits iPhone development because of Apple

Joe Hewitt.Joe Hewitt’s been unhappy with and outspoken about Apple’s app approval process since about the time he started working on the Facebook app. Well he’s finally had enough. According to a recent, tweet he’s done working on the app and ready to move on.

Time for me to try something new. I’ve handed the Facebook iPhone app off to another engineer, and I’m onto a new project.

Hewitt also said in very clear language that he left iPhone development because of Apple. Speaking to TechCrunch he said, “My decision to stop iPhone development has had everything to do with Apple’s policies. I respect their right to manage their platform however they want, however I am philosophically opposed to the existence of their review process.” As are a lot of people, but to this point no one with Hewitt’s resume has made the same decision (Arrington left the iPhone for a different reason and he’s not a developer).

Hewitt’s in a better position to “quit” then some developers, though. He’s got a swanky gig at Facebook, where he’ll still be developing after his announcement. A house like Tapulous, on the other hand, is making enough money off the App Store that it’s unlikely it will leave, and we probably wouldn’t hear about one of its developers quitting because of a philosophical opposition like Hewitt’s.

Instead we’ll probably continue to see the trickle of policy changes Apple has made over the last several months. The most recent allows developers to see real time status updates about the app, so when it’s sitting in “waiting for review” you can start throwing around some lawsuits.


Apple allows in-app purchases for free apps

iPhone App Store. Apple has decided to lift yet another App Store restriction, one that has bloated the App Store (that app count isn’t entirely accurate) for some time. Developers are now allowed to have in-app purchases in free apps, a move that spells the demise of all those “lite” apps.

As things used to be, developers were required to charge for the download of an application if they also wanted to charge for content to be added later. By lifting the restriction, Apple has finally enabled developers to make just one version of an application that can then be unlocked through in app purchases.

I know this makes trial or limited downloads a lot more appealing. Downloading two apps for one purpose always seemed like a hassle to me. I’m glad things have finally turned the corner.


Update: No Porn in the App Store

iPhone porn?Yesterday we ran a story concerning the application “Hottest Girls,” available up until yesterday in the iPhone App Store. Prior to OS 3.0, the application showed pictures of scantily clad women and allowed users to rate those images. An update yesterday pushed topless images through the application. The app was pulled within a few hours.

The developer posted to his website later in the day, claiming the application was “sold out” due to server load from all the fresh boobies beaming to iPhones around the world. In truth, it was Apple pulled the app for, you guessed it, explicit content.

When Steve Jobs announced the App Store, porn was among the first mention of all things verboten. Other unapproved apps included privacy invasion and other malicious apps. “Hottest Girls” would have been the first app sanctioned by Apple with explicit content.

As an apple rep told CNN:

Apple will not distribute applications that contain inappropriate content, such as pornography. The developer of this application added inappropriate content directly from their server after the application had been approved and distributed, and after the developer had subsequently been asked to remove some offensive content. This was a direct violation of the terms of the iPhone Developer Program. The application is no longer available on the App Store.

Once again we have more noise than necessary concerning porn on the infamous iPhone. Explicit content is still viewable on the device via the web browser, though I think the real issue here is whether or not Apple wishes to be complicit in skin traffic. Apparently they do not.