tap tap tap’s Camera+ was allegedly pulled from the App Store by Apple this morning for sneaking in a hidden feature that Apple had previously denied.

The feature in question was tap tap tap’s manipulation of the volume control buttons, letting them control the camera shutter rather than a button on the screen. In their own words, by using the volume controls instead of an on-screen button, “photos can be sharper because you can now hold your iPhone steadier with two hands instead of fumbling around for the shutter button on screen.”

It makes sense, as it puts the volume buttons right where the shutter button would normally be on a camera, but Apple didn’t like it. Apple, in their statement to tap tap tap regarding their reasoning for rejecting the feature, wrote that,

Your application cannot be added to the App Store because it uses iPhone volume buttons in a non-standard way, potentially resulting in user confusion. Changing the behavior of iPhone external hardware buttons is a violation of the iPhone Developer Program License Agreement. Applications must adhere to the iPhone Human Interface Guidelines as outlined in the iPhone Developer Program License Agreement section 3.3.7.

Instead of letting the feature die though, tap tap tap threw in a hidden trick in their latest version. They released in a tweet that “by visiting the URL camplus://enablevolumesnap in Mobile Safari, one could make the volume buttons on the side of the iPhone instead act as a camera shutter button”.

The tweet was pulled soon after, but tap tap tap had to have known that the feature would be widely publicized and eventually found by Apple. They said themselves in their blog post regarding the initial feature rejection that, “When Apple finds out about these incidents, they tend to crack down pretty hard on them, sometimes going so far as completely banning the developers from the App Store. So this is definitely not the smart way to go.”

Now what are the chances that tap tap tap, in order to spur sales for an app that was admittedly slumping in sales, planted the Twitter post, knew that big sites would pick up on the story, and then pulled the app themselves?

Regardless, the app is not in the App Store anymore, and it is unclear if Apple will do/ has done anything about the situation. There have also oddly been no comments from tap tap tap on their blog or elsewhere about the app being pulled, which, considering the apps popularity, would be expected if they were going to try to force Apple’s hand through public support. Media stunt or not, it’ll be interesting to see how it all plays out.

[Source: MobileCrunch, Gizmodo, tap tap tap]

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