Apple’s review process has gone a long way since the early days when every day would bring a new story about a controversial rejection. It’s rare nowadays that an app would take longer than a couple of weeks to be reviewed, let alone months. That’s exactly what happened to the TrapCall app by Tel Tech Systems Inc. After a whopping 201 days in review, the App Store team has finally approved this app.
The free app requires a paid TrapCall service from five bucks a month. It lets you stop getting harassing phone calls by unmasking blocked and private phone calls. Developers claim it’s the only app in the world that can do this, speculating their workaround of the *67’s caller ID blocking feature is probably why it took Apple so long to review the app. Their product manager Nate Kapitanski told us in an email message:
The whole situation was incredibly frustrating as we had a real hard time even getting a response from Apple after 2-3 months as to what was possibly holding our app up.
What’s really interesting is how the program handles call unmasking…
When you get a call, press the power button twice to decline it and let TrapCall do the unmasking, Within seconds the service sends back the call to your phone with the number unmasked along with the name and address associated with the caller (when available) via a text message or push notification.
I don’t know about you, but this seems like treading the fine line between Apple’s guideline principles and big no-nos. That said, I wouldn’t be surprised if the app disappears from the App Store. The TrapCall app has a couple of other noteworthy features.
It can transcribe your voicemails into text and send them via text messages, email or push notifications. You can opt to platy a recorded message telling blacklisted callers that your phone number has been disconnected, get timely alerts about missed calls even when your phone is turned off and more.
UPDATE [April 4,2011 2:35pm Pacific time]
Due to speculative comments related to the technology behind call unmasking, we reached out to Tel Tech Systems, asking them for detailed description that would clear any misunderstanding you, our readers, may have. Here’s what their product manager Nate Kapitanski pointed out:
The “push the power button twice to reject the call” thing sort of makes it sound like we are doing something with the hardware that we’re not supposed to, but this is really just the easiest way to tell users that they have to ignore or reject the calls for their conditional call-forwarding to send the call to our 800 number for unmasking.
The service is actually 100 percent legal as we’ve even dealt with the FCC on this. The reason the app is legal is because the way the service works is that missed and rejected calls get forwarded to an 800 number for unmasking. The FCC has made it clear that because the owner of an 800 number has to pay for every incoming call to their number, that they’re entitled to see who is calling them – even if the caller ID is blocked.
So our users are essentially leasing a toll-free number from us which entitles them to the call information. We had to have our lawyers detail this info and send it to Apple….once they finally got back to us after 3+ months in review.