All good things must come to an end. Still, the end came swiftly for Rewound, a basic music player app that lets users download skins to make their iPhones look like ye olde iPods of yore—click wheel and all. Now it appears that Apple has summarily killed the app, saying it copied the iPod’s design and could be mistaken for an Apple product.
In a Medium blog, Rewound notes the app got up to no. 19 in the U.S. Music App charts and was also popular in various Asian and European countries. “Rewound was specifically designed not to infringe on Apple’s trademarks and we didn’t,” the blog reads. “Rewound could look many ways. Not until users started sharing/using click wheel skins did they ban the app.”
To be fair, the iPod skins didn’t come pre-installed with the Rewound app—users had to download them separately once the app was installed. Though, you only have to look at tweets from users to see that the skins did in fact, look very much like the iPod Classic. However, Apple also reportedly took issue with the fact Rewound charged users for Apple Music features. Rewound says this was “less unreasonable” but noted that Apple had already approved in-app purchases before click wheel skins became popular. Gizmodo reached out to Apple for comment and we’ll update if we hear back.
“We can’t update the app to get it re-approved without breaking the app for all 170,000+ users,” the blog reads. Still, there is a small ray of hope for fans of the app. Rewound’s blog contains a link to a GoFundMe campaign for a native Android app, as well as a web app that can “cache to your iPhone home screen and load like an app with an icon just like a native app.” And while Rewound notes that it will try to get the app resubmitted to the App Store after a few tweaks, it’s not clear whether Apple would ever allow this.
Ultimately, Apple’s decision isn’t the least bit surprising—the company rules over its App Store with an iron fist. For some, that’s a worthy trade-off. For others, it’s just another reminder of Apple’s infamous walled-garden approach. Earlier this year, Apple posted a lengthy blog in response to an antitrust case over its ‘monopolistic’ App Store. In the blog, Apple claimed its hands-on approach was the reason for the overall quality, security, privacy, and good user experience. More recently, Apple removed or restricted many competing third-party screen time apps, as well as purged 181 vaping apps from the store. Still, would it kill Apple to let people have a little fun?