iAd Gallery, a free iPhone app Apple released yesterday in the App Store, has generated several debates on the Internet about its rather "limited" feature set: the app, good-looking and responsive, does only one thing: it's a collection of advertisements you can browse and "love." By aggregating the best campaigns recently launched on the iAd network, iAd Gallery only lets users interact with a spinning wheel featuring ads from different brands, view information and "launch" them to experience the rich functionalities of iAds. Basically, it's a free ad collector for iPhone. Not exactly the kind of "productive" (or at least entertaining) software most users would expect from Apple.
As noted by Dan Frommer at Silicon Alley Insider, it is kind of ironic that iAd Gallery may be violating Apple's own Review Guidelines for iOS apps and should have been rejected by Apple itself. In the 2.13 section of the Guidelines, the company explains:
Apps that are primarily marketing materials or advertisements will be rejected
iAd Gallery indeed is based on marketing materials and doesn't do anything but enabling you to browse various ad campaigns. Sure, you can read details about a specific campaign and learn more about the agency behind it, but that's not really a "functionality" in our opinion. The app also lets you get in touch with the iAd team with a Contact button: perhaps the App Review Team at Cupertino thought that was enough to let the app through the App Store gates.
The truth is, of course Apple won't reject its own app because it violates one of the Guidelines. They manage and have the ultimate word on the App Store, and they can release whatever they want under the Apple, Inc. name. But looking at the big picture, it is kind of funny that Apple is distributing an app that would have been rejected if it came from someone else.