Apple rejects Tesco iPhone app

22 Sep 2009 View Comments
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Tesco's iPhone app will help shoppers - when Apple accepts it

Apple has rejected Tesco’s first iPhone application to be submitted for inclusion in the supplier’s App Store.

Tesco.com head of research and development (R&D) Nick Lansley revealed on his blog last month that the retailer was developing software to be a “simple application that can do the basics of grocery shopping well”.

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But Apple has now told Lansley it has rejected the initial app due to a technical issue.

“The Tesco.com R&D 'Store Finder' application, which allows iPhone users to locate their nearest Tesco branch, had a problem if the user denied it access to iPhone’s location service so it could not obtain the current latitude and longitude of the phone,” Lansley wrote in his latest blog update.

“Basically it had been accidentally programmed to have the same attitude as an affronted celebrity denied access to a posh nightclub (‘Don’t you know who I am?’) then give them a ‘stores near me’ list anyway by assuming they were actually located at Tesco.com HQ in Welwyn Garden City.”

Lansley said a minor change is required to overcome the problem.

“The letter of rejection was pleasant and helpful, detailing a user-interface reason for the rejection and looking forward to a rapid re-submission,” he said.

“It’s no discredit to the developer - the brief was that the application had to get the customer quickly to the store, so denying the application access to the current location and having to perform a manual search will make it considerably less ‘immediately’ useful.”

Tesco has already invited independent software developers to create applications that link to its online store, to boost sales and produce innovative new ways of encouraging shoppers to use the site.

The firm is developing an application programming interface (API) that will allow developers direct access to its online services. Programmers producing software that uses the Tesco API would be rewarded for their efforts through an affiliate programme that pays them whenever customers place an order using their application.

But some of those developers are not happy about Tesco’s plan for an iPhone app.

“Tesco has just taken a big dump on our heads by announcing the creation of an official iPhone app for Tesco,” said one developer, who wrote to Computing on condition of anonymity.

“I don't know how many other developers were looking at iPhone solutions but I was certainly one of them. Fortunately I had only invested about 20 hours so far in a project I expected to take 400-600 hours, but I think Tesco has sent a clear message to developers that as soon as a market looks like it might have mass appeal they intend to stomp all over the little guys by writing an official app of their own. That is not how to foster creativity with an experimental new API.”

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