Blockchain.info's app undeniably broke the rules and intentionally manipulated the reviewers to get it on the store in the first place. They presented it to the reviewers with only monitoring features, and changed the server it was talking to in order to enable sending features. Anything Bitcoin aside, they needed to be removed just for this one fact.
Or they might be simultaneously members of the groups that believe Apple is behaving in an anticompetitive fashion against bitcoin and they never should have had this whole ridiculous app approval regime which has managed to stick around this long regardless.
In which case, that the approval process was gamed is largely irrelevant, because it's ridiculous to begin with.
I agree with you - they fully deserve what happened to them.
However, I have to say that I think their little trick is quite cool. I wonder how many apps on the apps store do a similar thing but went unnoticed by the powers that be because of a lack of popularity.
I'll also agree it was bad for them to be deceptive. But it goes to show how stupid the app review process is. If you can alter your app enough that it wouldn't have passed review, by merely changing an external server that doesn't fall under App Store code signing policies, what is the point of the review? Did they even represent that the server would never change? Is that part of the agreement?
I'm open to being corrected on this, as I know very little. It's just a bit ironic that Hacker News so gleefully condemns someone for, well, hacking the app review process (and not in the "cracker" sense.)
It's basically just a web view, they can't do much about it. I have an issue with it because they're making out that they did nothing wrong, where as really they knew they were breaking the rules this whole time.
Why should changing the site a webview points at, be breaking any rules? The whole point of a web page is that it can change and is outside the client. (See below; if there is a rule, I'd be curious to know what it is.) Maybe if Apple didn't want that to change, they shouldn't allow web views.
I'd guess the app was basically a Blockchain.info-only browser with some glue to scan QR codes and other system-integration stuff. If anything, people are even more justified in being pissed with Apple for what amounts to, "OMG, you changed a webpage that our customers use on their devices, without our consent! BAN!"
Again, I acknowledge I don't have all the facts, and that BCI did this with intent to deceive. But it doesn't seem to be actually against any rules; or if it is, they're draconian or nonsensical rules that people are right to be angry with Apple about. One can still be angry with Apple that deception was the only way to get an app a lot of people want, that has no legal reason it can't be in the App Store.
Many Bitcoiners are mad at Apple; a few here think BCI is at fault. I see blame on both sides, but am more upset with Apple. (I do understand Apple can legally do whatever they want with their own store.)
I would be interested to know if there is actually a rule about changes to a backend server after review, and how it is worded. Or any rule that describes exactly what Blockchain.info did wrong. I think such a rule would be written here, but I can't read it without an Apple Developer ID.
Don't mistake to maliciousness what can be attributed to naievity.
The reason Apple has issues with other payment methods on their App Store is that they can't control them. Meaning, they can't ensure the user experiance they would like to, and when things go wrong, they can't fix it.
Apple's userbase is so large and diverse now that users blame things on Apple that shouldnt (e.g. they loose money through bitcoin they used with an iPhone app, Apple gets blamed ). This is their way of minimising that.
Also on top of controlling the experience Apple probably doesn't mind the percent of all transactions they get for providing that mandatory control. Apple will allow bitcoin transaction apps when they can control the transactions to a similar degree they currently control other monetary in app transactions, and will likely ensure they make a similar percent on each transaction.
I don't see this as Apple being sneaky or evil, I see it as Apple pursuing their existing business model, which has worked quite well.
There is no evidence that Apple doesn't like these apps because they aren't able to recoup fees, there already exist iOS apps that let you move money from one person to another without Apple getting involved at all.
For example, I often use my bank's app to move money to and from my roommate. I should note that this involves no transaction cost at all.
It's a screenshot from the App Store as it was presented. The logic being that the screenshots blockchain.info provided would have been intended to fool the reviewers. The screenshot meshes with other comments I found from around this timeframe of users being disappointed that it was read-only, and then subsequently finding the next day that all the features had been added back in. This is actually the second time the app has been banned from the store for the same reason.