First Apple-Approved Live Broadcast App for iPhone Launches in App Store

Danbury, Connecticut-based Pointy Heads Software on Tuesday launched Knocking Live Video, the first officially sanctioned Apple iPhone app to offer live video broadcasting over a 3G network. The app, which is billed as working with any generation of the iPhone, allows users to broadcast live to other iPhones (as Pointy Heads puts it, it "eliminate[s] the 'upload, send, download' process, establishing live, device-to-device connectivity"). In its promotional materials for the new app, Pointy Heads attempts to position the live device-to-device broadcasts that it enables (which the company terms "knocks" or "knocking") as representing a new form of digital communication, on a par with email or SMS: "Knocking is an entirely new form of mobile communication redefining the way users share moments," the materials state. "Knocking is direct, visual communication. Where mobile users once got a call, an email, text or multimedia message, they now get a knock...Knocking treats the iPhone camera as a keyhole into another moment, letting users look through to another device, place and event."

According to Pointy Heads, the new app includes a Facebook Connect feature that "automatically publishes stories on users' 'knocks' in real time." The company bills the app as easy to use, describing the process of using it as follows: "Open Knocking Live Video sharing, set up account, request and 'knock' your friends, aim your camera." The app is available for download in the social networking category of the Apple App store, and Pointy Heads says it will be free to the first 50,000 users.

According to an article in Ars Technica, the app was initially rejected for inclusion in the Apple App Store because it employs a private, non-Apple-sanctioned API. However, the app's developer, Brian Meehan, emailed Apple CEO, Steve Jobs, directly, explaining that "he has been frustrated and disheartened with the app approval process, which often leaves developers wondering and waiting with little or no response from Apple about any potential problems," pointing out that "there are other apps that had been approved using the same private API call" (note: those apps were, however, approved before Apple implemented automated analysis software that is designed to spot use of unauthorized API's) and requesting that "Jobs himself review a demo of the app and reconsider it for approval," Ars Technica reports. His efforts were rewarded shortly thereafter by a phone call from an unnamed Apple exec who stated that the company had decided to reverse the app's rejection by the App Store and that that decision came "directly from the top." As Ars Technica puts it, the reversal of the app's rejection is significant for several reasons: "It's the first app with verified use of private API's that Apple has approved for sale. It's also the first app approved to allow live video streaming. Finally, it's a concrete sign that Apple is indeed working to address developer concerns."

A demo video of Knocking Live Video is embedded above.

In related news: An Israeli company called fring has launched an app that allows users to receive (though not place) video calls on their iPhone. GigaOm has more.

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