I’m a Pebble owner, and I’m content with my smartwatch. It zips notifications to my wrist, and it works with my iPhone. Until now, I haven’t seen a clear cut reason to check out the Apple Watch.
So it appears Apple is inventing one.
According to ReadWrite, Apple just rejected an app from its App Store because it mentioned Pebble support in its metadata. The app, SeaNav US, had no issues with the App Store previously; then again, the developer wasn’t submitting an update so close to the Apple Watch launch date. Apple’s reasoning behind the rejection is a four-year-old rule in its developer guidelines — one stating that apps and app metadata cannot mention the name of any other platform, period.
If Apple decides to apply this rule to all apps with Pebble support, you’ll no longer be able to search the App Store for apps that work with the device.
There’s a workaround to this, of course — developers can list apps in Pebble’s own app store, including those that require a companion app on iOS or Android. The big question is, if Pebble is now considered a platform, will Pebble’s own iOS app — the one that allows users to manage their watches — survive in the App Store?
By Apple’s logic, that could be pulled, too.
A dangerous precedent is being set here, and it not only affects Pebble, but any other device maker with a product that could be considered a “platform.” If Apple is consistent with its application of this four-year-old guideline going forward, we may not see Android Wear support show up on iOS. And developers who make apps that work with devices like Jawbone Up, Fitbit, and the Microsoft Band, could find themselves left with one single device to consider: the Apple Watch.
Funny how that works.
Apple hasn’t been any more aggressive than that one simple app rejection yet, but this is definitely something to watch. And watch we will. Stay tuned.