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Friday, September 17, 2021

After Apple rejections, FlickType offers up on well-liked iPhone keyboard for the blind

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For those who’re a blind or low-vision iPhone person who depends on the FlickType keyboard to sort, I’ve obtained some unhealthy information — you’re about to turn out to be a casualty of the struggle between Apple and one among its staunchest critics. Developer Kosta Eleftheriou has introduced that he’s discontinuing the iPhone keyboard portion of his app, and says that keyboard will robotically be eliminated in a future replace.

You might need heard your complete app goes away, and that’s not really true, Eleftheriou tells The Verge. In January 2020, he added a swipe-to-type Apple Watch keyboard to FlickType that noticed the app skyrocket to the primary paid app in your complete Apple App Retailer for a time, and that app will live on and proceed to include that Apple Watch keyboard. Eleftheriou says the app has almost half one million downloads, however he doesn’t have a breakdown for what number of of these customers depend on the iPhone keyboard particularly.

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Apple offered Eleftheriou with this screenshot “proving” the app doesn’t work with out entry.

If his identify sounds acquainted, that’s as a result of Eleftheriou is similar developer who’s been poking holes in Apple’s App Retailer picture for months, mentioning how egregious scams, secret gambling dens, and review fraud hold making it by means of the corporate’s filters although they’re fairly simple for anybody to root out. His struggle grew to become private lengthy earlier than right now: he sued Apple in March for some seemingly shady habits, alleging that Apple erected roadblocks to his FlickType keyboard as a way to persuade him to promote the expertise to Apple for a reduction, all whereas scammy cellular keyboard apps flourished on the App Retailer.

Now, says Eleftheriou, Apple has immediately determined to reject FlickType but once more — and for a cause that he’s already efficiently argued with them previously. He shared the rejection letter with The Verge, and it’s a fairly easy dispute: Apple says the keyboard must work even when a person doesn’t give it “full entry” to community entry and different iOS options. However Eleftheriou says that if Apple really tried to make use of the app, or consulted their earlier discussions, they’d see that the keyboard works.

To be clear, Apple’s own developer guidelines specify that “full entry” isn’t an issue: the one dispute right here is whether or not the app continues to work if a person turns it off — which it does, says Eleftheriou, if you happen to flip VoiceOver on. “They’d must attempt it as a VoiceOver person, one thing that they don’t appear to hassle doing. I’ve had a number of rejections previously as a result of the reviewer didn’t know something about VoiceOver,” Eleftheriou says.

As his Twitter thread explains, Eleftheriou sees this as the ultimate straw for this particular function:

“Our rejection historical past already spans greater than FOURTY pages crammed with repeated, unwarranted, & unreasonable rejections that serve to frustrate & delay moderately than profit end-users. And coping with App Overview isn’t simply time-consuming. It’s additionally very emotionally draining,” he writes.

Eleftheriou stops wanting accusing Apple of retaliation, in a separate chat over Twitter DM. “I can solely speculate about this rejection, however I’ve lately had many extra rejections I haven’t talked about but, and them ignoring my makes an attempt to achieve them can be new,” he says.

“I can’t actually know, however undoubtedly looks like some form of ‘particular’ remedy happening,” he tells The Verge.

Apple didn’t instantly reply to a request for remark.

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