Discount For Three NY Apps Ends Sunday Jan 15th

While we are still trying to get Apple to show some business sense (and consistency) and publish the rest of our 2012 updates, the discount on our first three updates that Apple did approve back in December is ending this Sunday.

The discounts on our 2012 NY CPLR, 2012 NY Penal Law, and 2012 NY Vehicle & Traffic Law apps end Sunday, January 15th.

Apple Rejects Additional 2012 Updates

After first approving three of our 2012 releases, then rejecting others, then approving seven of our 2012 releases last week, Apple is once again rejecting our apps.  They have just rejected the following 2012 releases:

  • 2012 CA Code of Civil Procedure
  • 2012 CA Evidence Code
  • 2012 CA Family Code
  • 2012 CA Health and Safety Code
  • 2012 CA Labor Code
  • 2012 CA Welfare and Institutions Code

This puts our business at risk and is confusing to our users.  Since 2009 our users have been able to depend on getting updates from us for new laws, but Apple is making that impossible for 2012.  Not only are they making it impossible they are doing this in an inconsistent and confusing manner where some 2012 releases are approved without issue and others are rejected.

Unfortunately the only way to sell apps (without requiring users to jailbreak their devices) is through the Apple run app store.

If you would like to see our apps released including these and other updates for Texas, Louisiana, New York, Florida, or states we are not currently supporting please join our twitter page @PDAWizard, send us a message through the contact us link on our webpage, and/or consider sending an email to Apple’s CEO Tim Cook.

Update on 2012 Releases

Initially Apple approved and released three of our 2012 updates (NY Penal Law, NY Vehicle & Traffic Law, and NY CPLR), while rejecting the rest of our releases.

We just received a call from Richard of Apple’s Worldwide Developer Relations who told us that Apple will release another seven of our 2012 updates.

So this is progress, but we told Richard that we need to have all of our 2012 updates released (most immediately, for California, New York, and Texas).  Richard told us that it was a “one-time exception” for seven of our apps, but he will see what he can do and get back to us Monday.

Here’s to hoping that Apple will do the logical thing and release all of our 2012 updates rather than a random selection of them.

** Update: The seven apps Apple approved are now available in the app store.  While we are waiting for the rest, here are the seven that have just been approved and released.  To help with upgrading, the price for these apps will be discounted until January 20th:

  1. 2012 CA Penal Code
  2. 2012 CA Vehicle Code
  3. 2012 NY Criminal Procedure Law
  4. 2012 NY Domestic Relations Law
  5. 2012 NY Family Court Act
  6. 2102 NY Surrogate’s Court Procedure Act (SCPA)
  7. 2012 NYPD Patrol Guide

Where Are Your Updated Apps?

Apple Rejects Updated Apps for Police and Law Enforcement

After three years of submitting apps approved by Apple that our users liked, and having increasing sales year over year, this past Friday, December 23rd, we received a shocking message from Apple. Apple was rejecting our 2012 updates. This is despite the fact that we have been selling these same apps in the app store since 2009 and have an overall average rating of 4 stars from our users. This is especially disturbing and arbitrary given the fact that Apple is actively demoing these very same apps to law enforcement. In fact just last month we had a bulk sale of our apps to the San Bernardino Sheriff’s Department through Apple’s new Volume Purchase Program.

Our Company’s History With Apple

We started selling legal reference apps in the app store in 2009. We originally polled a group of lawyers to find out how many of them were using iPhones and if they would be interested in having quick access to the legal statutes on their iPhone. The news wasn’t good — the blackberry was the phone of choice among lawyers and their firms.  We saw promise in the flexibility the iPhone offered and decided to pursue developing our apps. Hopefully we could help develop a market on the iPhone.

We founded our biggest success among law enforcement. They could use the fast search our apps provide to very quickly find infractions or reference the current laws.  Also more and more lawyers started purchasing iPhones and using our apps.  While they serve a niche market, our apps are very important to our users. Since the app store did not (and still does not) support paid upgrades we follow a business model of releasing new paid versions every year or two depending on when the majority of laws would are changed, and otherwise making free updates in between. If a user liked they could continue to use the older version on their phone. Only the new version would be available for sale in the app store.

2010 went well, and we were seeing a good increase in users as word of mouth about our apps spread. We started getting requests from law enforcement and lawyers around the country to “please add support for their state”. Then in October, 2010 things got really exciting – a request from apple to demo our software at trade shows and to police chiefs around the country:

From: Betsi L <apple.com>
Date: Tue, Oct 12, 2010 at 12:20 PM
Subject: PDA Wizard: iPad applications
To: PDA Wizard Support <pdawiz.com>

I concentrate on the state/local and federal markets and show the iPad to several customers during sales calls and trade shows.

Would you be interested in sending me download codes to download your apps directly so that we may show your apps directly (at no charge)?  I’ve very willing to show your applications to show our law enforcement customers all of the applications available.

I appreciate your response asap.  I will be traveling the ICOP (Intl Chiefs of Police) in Orlando in 2 weeks so would appreciate your response prior to this date.

thank you

Betsi L
Govt Channel Manager

We happily provided Apple with copies of our apps, and we were getting good feedback from Apple’s sales team:

From: Ron U <apple.com>
Date: Fri, Oct 29, 2010 at 10:21 AM
Subject: Re: PDA Wizard: iPad applications
To: PDA Wizard Support <pdawiz.com>

Hi Eli,

It went really well. I showed them your apps for the other agencies and they were interested. They’re deciding what their next steps will be, either a more in-depth followup meeting or pilots starting after the new year. They’re looking at deploying iPads to patrol officers.

Thanks.

Ron

In 2011 we released our updated apps for the New Year and things continued to increase compared to the previous two years. Sales were growing, reviews were good, our apps were showing up in the Apple’s lists of top reference apps, and more police departments were looking at making our apps available directly to their officers. Just two months ago we received a question from the San Bernardino Sheriff’s Department asking how they could do a bulk purchase of our apps. I contacted Betsi at Apple to find out about the process:

From: PDA Wizard Support <pdawiz.com>
Date: Mon, Oct 31, 2011 at 4:01 PM
Subject: Re: PDA Wizard: iPad applications
To: Betsi L <apple.com>

Hi Betsi,

We just received an inquiry from the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department regarding a bulk purchase of our apps.  I did receive a notice from Apple in June that support for bulk purchases was coming, but I am not sure of the procedure for this or who I should contact about it.  Can you give me a reference to someone that can answer questions about this and help the SBCSD through the process?

And we got this encouraging reply that apple was still demoing our software in addition to the info we needed about Apple’s Volume Purchase Program:

From: Betsi L <apple.com>
Date: Mon, Oct 31, 2011 at 7:24 PM
Subject: Re: PDA Wizard: iPad applications
To: PDA Wizard Support <pdawiz.com>

Eli

good news – I hope it was because they saw us demonstrate your apps in a recent california MISAC show

Here’s the info on the VPP for Apps

http://www.apple.com/business/vpp/

attachment: VPP_Business_Guide_US.pdf

I’m happy to report that just last month they did complete the volume purchase of our apps.

Our 2012 Updates… And Spam?

Earlier this month we started releasing the 2012 versions of our New York apps. The 2012 releases of our NY Penal Law, Vehicle & Traffic Law, and Civil Practice Law & Rules were approved by Apple’s review team on Dec 8th and went on sale in the app store just like had happened for our 2009, 2010, and 2011 releases. Business as usual. But something funny happened with the rest of our 2012 releases for New York.

On Dec 13th, just 5 days after the first of our 2012 NY releases were approved, Apple notified us that the rest of our 2012 updates were being rejected. Not only were they being rejected, but they were considered spam and apple threatened to revoke our developer license:

Binary Rejected Dec 13, 2011 10:49 AM
Reasons for Rejection:

  • 2.20: Developers “spamming” the App Store with many versions of similar apps will be removed from the iOS Developer Program

Dec 13, 2011 10:49 AM. From Apple.

Obviously there was a mistake here. These are successful apps in the app store with great reviews from happy loyal users. Not “spam”. Many of our users would buy more than one of our apps to cover different areas of law. The San Bernardino Sheriff’s Dept purchased four different apps as part of their volume purchase. Apple’s sales team was actively demoing our apps, and we were entering our fourth year of selling these Apps in the app store.

We have had lots of requests to make our apps available on Android, but so far had kept all of our eggs in Apple’s basket. This isn’t a bizarro world. Apple wouldn’t approve our Apps for three years (2009, 2010, 2011), then approve our 2012 releases one week in December, and reject them as “spam” the following week. Especially not while Apple’s sales team is demoing our apps across the country. With Apple’s 30% cut of our sales and all the hardware being purchased to run our apps Apple is making more money off of our apps then we are.  Obviously it was a mistake, so we filed an appeal of the rejection and reminded Apple of all this.

Then last Friday, December 23rd, we received a call from Richard from Apple’s “Worldwide Developer Relations” team who very nonchalantly told us that our appeal was rejected. Our apps were considered spam and the 2012 releases would not be made available to our users… To Apple’s users!

Shock! Betrayal! How could this be?  It is a bizarro world!

Richard said that Apple just wanted to be “consistent”.  Consistent?  Consistency would be having our apps remain on sale as they have been for the past three years.  Consistency is not approving our updates one week in December, then rejecting them the following week. Consistency is not having your sales team demo our apps to sell iPads to law enforcement at the same time you are threatening to remove us from the iOS Developer Program for writing them.  Richard also told that “Rules change all the time”.  Oh, yes, then at the end of our call Richard said “uh, have a good holiday weekend”… Thanks Richard.

If this is what Apple considers consistent, they should review Ralph Waldo Emerson’s quote, “A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of small minds.” Apple’s inconsistent consistency runs counter to the excellent reviews we have received for these apps and is an absolute disservice to their users.

Hope For A More “Consistent” Apple

Next week we are supposed to release our 2012 California Apps.  The same as we have done since 2009.  We’ve been getting questions for the past few months about when our 2012 California Apps would be available, and our answer has always been “early January”.  We have sold tens of thousands of copies of our apps and have a lot of loyal users waiting to buy our 2012 releases.  We hope that Apple makes a New Year’s resolution to be “consistent” and releases our apps as they have in previous years.  We’d hate to disappoint them!

 

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