Sling Media’s SlingPlayer Mobile for the iPhone and iPod touch has definitely seen its fair share of controversy over that last five or so months, and sadly, we have even more bad news to share with you regarding their most recent build.
We recently had a chance to speak with David Eyler, Sling Media’s iPhone Product Manger, about the direction in which the company intends to take their media streaming iPhone app; but instead of getting answers about their future, we ended up getting the low-down regarding a build of the app that was submitted to Apple way back in late August.
As many of you know by now, AT&T officially stated that they blocked SlingPlayer Mobile from running over their 3G network here in the U.S because of what it could possibly do to their network. Instead of letting AT&T ruin it for everyone, Sling Media decided to create an entirely different build of their app that would be able to check to see if the user is outside of the U.S., and if so, enable 3G streaming. If the user chooses not to disclose their location, they could simply disregard the pop-up and use Wi-Fi. The message would only appear when the device is using 3G. It’s a clever little workaround that operates similarly to the way MLB.com At Bat 2009 checks to see if the user isn’t in a blackout area.
“The build that we submitted at the end of August checks what country the user is in using geo-location, and if the user is outside the United States, 3G streaming is allowed. This is similar to how Major League Baseball checks to make sure users aren’t in a blackout area before letting them view a live game” said Eyler.
This is fantastic news for all of you Canadian and UK SlingPlayer Mobile users, right? Well, Apple apparently doesn’t think so. For whatever reason, the app has been stuck in Apple’s review process since late August. Sling Media has attempted to get some answers as to why this is, but as always, Apple has failed to respond to any of their inquiries.
“We submitted the international 3G build to Apple at the end of August and it has been in review since then. Apple has not responded to our inquiries on its status and it’s still in review” said Eyler.
But if it’s not AT&T forcing Apple’s hand, why in the world would Apple be letting SlingPlayer Mobile wane in app approval purgatory? Could it be pressure from other carriers?
Developers don’t deserve this kind of treatment, even if there is something technically wrong with their app. All Apple would have to do is tell Sling Media what’s wrong and why, so the app can be fixed and distributed in a timely manner. Instead, Apple has chosen to go down their usual path and ignore the developers, which is sad really, considering it seemed as if they had been making strides towards improving developer communication over the last few months.
Hopefully it all turns out for the best, but as of right now, it isn’t looking too good. It may be about time to turn your pitchforks away from AT&T and back in Apple’s direction.