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Apple just removed one of the most delightful iPhone apps from the App Store

Published Dec 17th, 2019 6:04PM EST
App Store iPod app
Image: JIM LO SCALZO/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

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With the iPod being one of the most iconic products in tech history, it’s no big surprise that we’ve seen two recent efforts to bring the iPod user experience — complete with a virtual scroll wheel — to the iPhone.

A few weeks back, for example, we highlighted an iOS developer who showed off an iPod Classic emulator which featured a scroll wheel and an implementation of Cover Flow. Even more recently, a music player app dubbed Rewound made its way to the App Store. The app itself is pretty basic, but the rub is that it allows users to download all sorts of skins, including an iPod design that will have you nostalgic for the music of 2006.

Rewound was developed by Louis Anslow who said that he worked on the app for upwards of a year. But as we’ve seen time and time again, Apple doesn’t care about how much time and effort you put into an app and has absolutely no qualms about removing any and every app that infringes upon its IP.

With that said, it shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that Apple recently removed Rewound from the App Store after it garnered well over 150,000 downloads in just a few days.

Highlighting the app’s removal via a blog post on Medium, Anslow defended the app and said it didn’t truly copy the iPod design in a technical sense.

Rewound was specifically designed not to infringe on Apple’s trademarks and we didn’t. Rewound could look many ways. Not until users started sharing/using clickwheel skins did they ban the app.
Apple have carte blanch over the AppStore and they got SALTY. The truth is:

  • An optional scrolling motion to navigate a menu isn’t Apple IP
  • A button layout without a wheel or scrolling navigation isn’t Apple IP
  • Similar menu systems are found in all operating systems.
  • Skins were user added/downloaded, we didn’t include them in the app.
  • Enabling scrolling navigation, a clickwheel skin + matching layout were 100% opt-in. Users decision.

According to the post, there’s no way to update the app without breaking functionality for everyone who already downloaded it. Anslow adds that he’s not sure it’s even worth the time to upload a new version if Apple will quickly remove it again. In the meantime, Anslow is planning to develop a web app boasting similar functionality and that familiar iPod UI.

Yoni Heisler Contributing Writer

Yoni Heisler has been writing about Apple and the tech industry at large with over 15 years of experience. A life long expert Mac user and Apple expert, his writing has appeared in Edible Apple, Network World, MacLife, Macworld UK, and TUAW.

When not analyzing the latest happenings with Apple, Yoni enjoys catching Improv shows in Chicago, playing soccer, and cultivating new TV show addictions.