Apple has taken umbrage with a popular third-party sticker pack for the iOS 10 Messages app, which allows users to effectively put words into their friends’ mouths.
The Phoneys app makes it possible to place stickers that look like the received blue (iMessage) and green (SMS) speech bubbles within the Messages app.
The idea is to make it look like friends have sent something they haven’t, which could be hilarious and in some circumstances be very, very damaging to enemies.
Related: iOS 10 review
The 99¢ pack even uses the San Francisco font to make the bubbles look more convincing. It seemed to strike a chord with iPhone-owning pranksters, topping the Top Grossing and Top Paid sections of the Messages App Store.
Well, now Apple seems pretty peeved the stickers made it through the app review process and has contacted the developer to make changes or face deletion.
“Apple’s lawyers weren’t happy that Phoneys got through the review process. The stickers couldn’t be blue or green, they couldn’t use San Francisco as the typeface, and the app could no longer be marketed as a “prank” app, because Apple doesn’t approve prank apps (even though I myself had never used the word “prank” when marketing Phoneys, others did, and I certainly understood where he was coming from). They were not going to pull the app, Bill made sure to emphasize. They’d give me a week, until next Thursday, to fundamentally change it so that the bubbles looked nothing like iMessage bubbles, instead looking something closer to “comic book cartoon bubbles”. I said okay, thanks a lot Bill, and that was the end of the conversation.”
Howell has the choice of making the changes and disappointing customers or not making the changes and seeing the app pulled… and disappointing customers.
Right now he hasn’t decided which avenue to take, but his tale of woe is an example of what happens when you turn an app that was working perfectly well for many years into a gimmick, in order to try and compete with Snapchat.
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