Pedometer++ and developer trust

Shortly after the introduction of the iPhone 5s with the M7 motion processor, David Smith released an extremely basic pedometer application that read and displayed this data. It was a free app that I considered almost more of a hobby project or proof of concept than a product.

Over time the app added features, including daily goals, and now supports additional features from iOS 8 and the iPhone 6. These include a notification center widget and floors climbed. The app has continually moved from hobby to product.

And unfortunately that change has really come through recently.

My phone is set to automatically install updates. It simplifies keeping track of things, but also means that I have to trust developers to not do something shady. And in this case the developer has definitely been doing shady things.

Ads were added to the most recent version (or one of the more recent; I’m not certain). This addition of ads and the use of “tips” as in-app purchases to (apparently) remove them are mentioned exactly zero times in the app description and version update changelogs posted to the app store. So even if I was reading and manually updating this would have snuck through.

David, I like you and your apps in general, but this is gross. If you think the app is worth a few bucks, charge a few bucks. Seriously. Developers need to eat, and that requires money. But don’t add advertisements to my phone without asking. And don’t use the “tip” euphemism for ad removal. It feels dishonest.

Developer trust is important to me, and because of this I no longer trust you. And I’m less likely to trust your other projects that I did pay for such as FeedWrangler and Check the Weather. I have deleted Pedometer++ from my phone, and am now considering whether to move my RSS feed subscription service as well.

— Steve

Posted on 29 September 2014