A top performing iOS app recently received a message from Apple saying that the app may be pulled out if it does not get the significant changes it needs. The Phoneys sticker pack app hit the #1 Top Paid spot in the iMessage App Store in no time. Despite its success, it is being threatened to be pulled out because it apparently violates Apple trademarks and that the App Store does not accept prank apps.
Though technically, Phoneys is not a prank app. It’s actually a sticker pack that look like iMessage bubbles; you know, the ones that appear on your chat with another friend. The thing about the app though is that it replaces your friends’ messages with some alternative text that were prepared by the app. So for example, if your friend typed in something like “Hey dummy!”, you can replace this with a sticker like “You’re so smart!” and confuse him afterwards.
The app quickly gained popularity and soon enough, it reached the iMessage App Store’s #1 spot. Apple also took notice of the app and got in touch with the app developer, Adam Howell. According to Howell, a representative spoke with him on regards with how Phoneys app violates Apple’s trademarks and that it could no longer be marketed as a prank app. This was because Phoneys made use of the green and blue bubbles typically used on iMessage as well as its San Francisco font.
In its place, Apple wanted the developer to make the bubbles look more like comic book cartoon bubbles. For its part, Apple promised that they were not pulling the app right away. They promised to give Howell a week to change the bubbles so that they no longer resemble the trademarked iMessage bubbles.
The big concern here now is whether or not Phoneys should comply with the changes, thus altogether abandoning the very nature of the app. By making the bubbles look more like comic book cartoon bubbles and less like iMessage’s signature message, Phoneys loses its value.
After all, the main purpose of using the Phoneys bubbles was to make your friends think they were the ones who sent the message. Furthermore, was Apple too lenient on its App Review process that it did not even bother to check out the app until it gained popularity?
Currently, Phoneys continues to be on the #1 Top Paid app spot in the iMessage App Store but may be pulled in a few days. As for the app developer and the fate of his app, there’s still no clear decision on whether or not Howell plans to comply with Apple’s requests or ultimately remove the app.