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Apple under fire once again for inconsistent App Store rule enforcement

Apple's App Store review policies have found yet another unwanted spotlight after the company allegedly rejected an iOS app update because its developer mentioned Pebble's competing smartwatch in the app's metadata.




The rejection was reported on Thursday by the developer of SeaNav US, a marine navigation app that allows users to receive notifications on a Pebble device. Apple rejected the update for violating section 3.1 of the App store review guidelines, which prohibit developers from mentioning "the name of any other mobile platform" in their app or app metadata.

"Specifically, your app and app description declare support for the Pebble Smartwatch," the notice is quoted as saying.

The prohibition against promoting other mobile platforms has long been in place, but is only sporadically enforced. SeaNav's developers have included the Pebble-specific language in previous updates without incident, and the version currently available in the App Store includes "Support for Pebble Smartwatch" in the description.

It's unclear whether this move represents a change in Apple corporate policy— considering other smartwatches as competing platforms, rather than simply iOS accessories— or if this is simply the latest example of inconsistency among App Store reviewers. Numerous apps that cite Pebble support in their metadata have been had updates approved since the unveiling of the Apple Watch, and there have been no other reports of rejections.

Developers have complained about the App Store's opaque review process nearly since its inception, and many have even called for regulatory action over Apple's handling of its storefront.