Apple Rejects AstroPad Update That Turned an iPad's Camera into a Software Button

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Astro HQ, the makers of popular iPad drawing app AstroPad Studio, yesterday announced that their plans for a "Camera Button" feature for the app have been scuppered by Apple.

The developers' clever hack that turns an iPad's front-facing camera into a functional software button was supposed to be coming in the next AstroPad Studio update, but Apple has rejected it on the grounds that the idea flouts App Store review guidelines.

The announcement came in a Medium.com post by Astro HQ titled "RIP Camera Button", which revealed that Apple had turned down the innovative iPad interaction because it broke the company's rules for iOS software.

We planned to introduce the Camera Button in an update to Astropad Studio going out today. However, we are disappointed to report that the Camera Button was rejected by Apple’s App Store review under Section 2.5.9:

Apps that alter or disable the functions of standard switches, such as the Volume Up/Down and Ring/Silent switches, or other native user interface elements or behaviors will be rejected.


Apple is known for its strict adherence to App Store rules, so the rejection shouldn't really come as much of a surprise. But the news will also likely disappoint backers of AstroPad's forthcoming Luna display adapter, which turns an iPad into a wireless extended Mac desktop. The developers had hoped to include the Camera Button feature in the Luna software, but they've been forced to drop it from that, too.

Despite the setback, Astro HQ said their "urge to innovate" lives on, and that they remained "committed to pushing the boundaries of software and hardware engineering so that we can create the best productivity tools possible".

Top Rated Comments

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39 months ago
What else they expected? its dangerous for privacy , i am sure they had to keep camera on all the time to make this feature work
Score: 19 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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39 months ago

What else they expected? its dangerous for privacy , i am sure they had to keep camera on all the time to make this feature work

Yup. If Apple lets one app do this then nine others will do this for nefarious intentions. It’s clever, but requires way too much trust of the developer.
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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39 months ago
Wouldnt this eat battery because the camera has to be on all the time?
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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39 months ago

What else they expected? its dangerous for privacy , i am sure they had to keep camera on all the time to make this feature work

Maybe the camera IS on all the time – is there a way of knowing for sure? Astropad are the first ones to publicly admit that they hacked the cam, but who knows if other apps do that all the time without us knowing...
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
39 months ago

could easily be done with a "swipe-in-from-edge" gesture so it should be no problem at all.

I'm betting they realized that as well. Probably wanted a unique and novel operation that set their app apart. Apple just told them to get back in line and stop waving your hands.
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
39 months ago
Perhaps this feature will come back one day, when developers get access to the true depth camera and intent detection. You'll then just wink at the device, or stick out your tongue to activate a UI function :D
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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