Monday, August 13, 2012 by Tim Webb
For those of you who managed to get Animoog's latest update running, you will have discovered a new In-App Purchase which will add MIDI Out for $4. I love Animoog's ribbon controller, and find it to be a great way to play with Polyphonic Aftertouch. This seems like a great deal, especially for the fortunate people who bought Animoog when it was $0.99, but Synthtopia makes some very good arguments that standards, like the MIDI Standard, need to come standard.
Synthesists don’t want to have to think about whether a synth supports MIDI... In the long run, making MIDI work consistently on the iPad music platform should be beneficial to Moog and to all companies making serious music apps.
A wise sentiment, and one that Apple agrees with! Or at least they have in the past. Last March Audanika had tried to make MIDI Out an In-App Purchase for Sound Prism. It was rejected then on the grounds that it was charging to "access built-in capabilities provided by iOS", i.e. CoreMIDI. I checked this morning and that is still in the App Store Guidelines:
• 11.8: Apps that charge users to access built-in capabilities provided by iOS, such as the camera or the gyroscope, will be rejected.
Animoog isn't the first one to pull a fast one on this score. The app, formerly known as Fairlight CMI, did a similar IAP for MIDI functionality. Just a few weeks after SoundPrism was rejected! Instead of calling it a MIDI Tax they nested it in with a bunch of "Pro" features and charged $40 for a Pro upgrade IAP!
Moog has somehow managed to get past a hard prohibition in the documented review guidelines. At best this is just an example of the App Review team being over-worked and sloppy. At worst this demonstrates favoritism in the review process, when big companies like Fairlight and Moog are allowed to break the rules and charge for things smaller companies cannot.
Don't bother writing to Moog in protest, tell Apple to stick to their own guidelines.