These days it’s popular to rag on Apple’s iTunes appstore. Turn to any techtard / new media douchebag commentary site, and you’ll find whining about market abuses, slow app approval blah blah blah.
Well for all the ‘tardary developers claim about the appstore, here’s a story about why the appstore can be a great thing for consumers…
As a recent iPhone buyer, I wanted a file transfer solution to provide the iPod as hard disc functionality that the classic iPods sported. So, I did a bit of research and the reviews seemed to indicate that Veiosoft’s DataCase was the best solution. I bought DataCase, and attempted to use it to back up files from my Mac.
You’ll notice the word “attempted”, yeah, not “succeeded”. Put simply, my experience of DataCase was that it probably shouldn’t be on sale. Some files I attempted to transfer over would just vanish when they arrived on the phone, and then magically cure themselves a while later. None of the files transferred over were viewable on the phone – tapping them would produce a grey screen, though if you rotated the phone’s orientation, the file would appear while it rotated, and then go back to the grey screen. The only way to view it was to go back to the file list, then tap the file a second time. The crowning fail of the app was that while it claims to support rotation, and certainly does for the file browser, when viewing movie files it has a hard-coded orientation. That’s ok if you’re right handed, and you rotate your phone counter-clockwise to put it into landscape orientation. I’m lefthanded, however, and when I rotate my phone clockwise to landscape, the app shows its file browser correctly, and then displays the movie itself upside down.
Retarded. Brutally, freaking retarded.
I deleted and downloaded the app afresh. No difference.
How does something like this get through a developer’s process?
I filed a support email with the developer, but didn’t get a response. So, I decided to try letting Apple know what I had experienced.
Whenever you download an app, you’re emailed a receipt (even for free apps). On that receipt is a “report a problem” link. So, I followed the instructions, and sent an email expressing my issues with the app – that it’s basic functionality didn’t work, and that it made claims of functional behaviour based on the experience expectations Apple provided (rotation) that wasn’t implemented correctly as the user would expect.
I asked for a refund or iTunes store credit so that I could buy a different app to do the job.
Less than a day later I received a response from Apple, and here it is… I’ve removed the CSR’s name, only because I’m not sure about the ins and outs of naming Apple employees in this situation.
[removed], here from the iTunes Store. I understand that your purchase of “DataCase” has not been functioning as expected. I’m very sorry to hear that this item did not meet the standard of quality you have come to expect from the iTunes Store. I can certainly appreciate how eager you must be to rectify this issue, and I would be more than happy to help you out with this today.
I have gone ahead and reversed the charge for “DataCase”. You will see a store credit of $8.17 plus any applicable sales tax, on your iTunes Store account in three to five business days. You may need to sign out of the iTunes Store and then sign back in before you see the credit in your account.
If you have any further questions or concerns regarding this issue, please let me know and I would be more than happy to address them for you. Thank you very much for being part of the iTunes Store family, Matt, and I hope you have a great day.
That’s good customer service. It’s perhaps an overlooked advantage of Apple acting as a gatekeeper in this market. Apple gives us certain expectations of polish, and their position as a gatekeeper means we can use their standards against developers who drop the ball.
The happy ending is that I bought Olive Toast’s Files, and it works wonderfully.