Yelp provided a sneaky way to get augmented reality in their new app, but they might have made things worse for all of us. In a post yesterday on TechCrunch, Matt Galligan thinks that this move might make Apple look even harder at each app approval — taking longer for each one, and rejecting a higher percentage. That’s not good.
He makes some good points. Here’s his basic argument:
My concern is that Yelp has set an awful precedent by this act. Now, every app developer will likely undergo even more scrutiny. Accessing private API’s goes against the agreement every iPhone developer has to abide by when submitting applications to the App Store. By subverting this agreement through an “easter egg”, Yelp could very well cause the approval process to become more draconian. Whereas before, Apple was primarily looking for trademark violations, “correct” usage of their Human Interface Guidelines, and show-stopping bugs, they’ll now have to go over each app with fine-toothed comb to make sure no feature that is likely to be unsanctioned will be released. Now granted, this may also be seen as a big cry for openness in the App Store, but so long as the App Store approval process remains in the status quo, deceitful acts like this won’t continue to go unnoticed by them.
I’d like to say I disagree, but I can’t. I still don’t understand why Apple wanted developers to wait for 3.1 to release AR apps, but Yelp probably should have listened. It’s still a neat app to show off to friends, but now things might get a bit rougher for all of us.