Apple’s known for doing a lot of things well. Apple is also unfortunately known for taking their sweet time in reviewing some iPhone apps for entry into the iPhone AppStore. Some developers have been waiting months on end with nary a word from the iPhone maker about where the potential iPhone application stands. In fact, Apple has taken so long in reviewing the “Newber” iPhone application, that FreedomVoice Systems has announced it is cutting its losses and pulling the plug on the iPhone app’s development.
You might remember Newber as the call-management iPhone application that allows you to place-shift all your phone calls, depending on your physical location. Newber assigns the iPhone user a “Newber Number” that takes the place of all your different (home, office, iPhone) phone numbers. By detecting your physical location, via cell-tower triangulation or GPS or WiFi, Newber automatically determines which phone (home, office, iPhone, etc.) is most convenient to ring and routes all incoming calls to that particular phone. Newber even hands-off phone calls to whichever phone you choose, allowing you to take your phone call from the home phone to your cellphone without the listener ever being the wiser.
IntoMobile recently partnered up with Newber to offer our members an exclusive free month of service, and the feedback was highly positive. Unfortunately, those lucky IntoMobile users may go down in history as the only members of the public to have tried Newber’s place-shifting call-management service. After dumping some $600,000 into Newber’s development (including marketing dollars spent in anticipation of App Store approval), FreedomVoice is halting development of the Newber application. The company has been waiting on Apple to certify the Newber iPhone app for the App Store, but has yet to hear back from Apple after six months of repeated attempts to contact Apple.
FreedomVoice Systems CEO Eric Thomas told Wired in a letter that, “We followed all guidelines set by Apple throughout the development process and have never received comment from Apple as to why the Newber application has still not even been reviewed,” adding that “Steve Jobs hailed the App Store as, ‘the best deal going to distribute applications to mobile platforms.’ Our experience is that it is the worst deal going.”
It really is too bad that Apple hasn’t been willing to communicate iPhone app status with developers like FreedomVoice Systems, or at the very least, deny the application outright. We would have liked to have seen Newber in the mainstream.