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Apple says it removed apps with Pebble compatibility by mistake

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What's now being called an accidental rejection raised questions about how Apple will treat watch competitors

The Apple Watch is just now reaching the hands of customers, and already raising questions about how Apple will compete against its new rivals. At least a couple developers are reporting in the Pebble forums that Apple is rejecting app updates for mentioning a competing platform — Pebble. A developer for the SeaNav US iOS app says Apple rejected an update for the app, which supported Pebble for two years, and said so in the app description and metadata. Apple cited this reason from its App Store review guidelines document:

3.1 - Apps or metadata that mentions the name of any other mobile platform will be rejected

3.1 Details

We noticed that your app or its metadata contains irrelevant platform information in the app. Providing future platform compatibility plans, or other platform references, is not appropriate for the App Store.

Specifically, your app and app description declare support for the Pebble Smartwatch.

Next Steps

Please remove any instances of this information from your app and its marketing materials, including the Application Description, What's New info, Previews and screenshots.

Since your iTunes Connect Application State is Rejected, a new binary will be required. Make the desired metadata changes when you upload the new binary.

NOTE: Please be sure to make any metadata changes to all App Localizations by selecting each specific localization and making appropriate changes.

Apple says it's not rejecting apps that work with other platforms

According to the developer, there were no changes to the app's support for Pebble in the new version. Another developer chimed in: "I confirm that Apple rejects updates referring to Pebble in the metadata. We had an image of a Pebble in our screenshots and had to remove this." But others have noted that their apps mention Pebble and have made it through Apple's submissions process just fine.

Following news of the rejections, Apple told Business Insider that it's not rejecting apps or app updates that work with Pebble's devices. Pebble also chimed in on Reddit, saying it was working with Apple, which was being "super responsive" to concerns that existing apps might get the kibosh:

Update: Still a work-in-progress, but we're working with Apple to clear up any misunderstandings to make sure rejections like the handful of recent ones don't happen again—they're being super responsive the concerns that bubbled up (much appreciated!). Apps are still getting approved with mentions of Pebble support in the description or metadata (e.g. RunKeeper). For now, developers should continue with their iOS app update plans and approval submissions to the iTunes store as normal (i.e. include Pebble support in your app info if that was your original intent).

Thus far, Apple's policy has been to bar developers from mentioning "any other mobile platform" in their apps, and there's no evidence of this being part of a larger trend.

Update April 24th, 7:24PM: This post has been updated to include Apple's response, as well as Pebble's. The headline has also been changed to reflect the newfound lack of ambiguity from the SeaNav rejection and others like it.