Last November, as visions of cranberries and turkey danced in our heads, the first tidbits about a forthcoming Sirius/XM app for the iPhone began to emerge on the Howard Stern fan forums. In January, the satellite radio player's name and details were confirmed -- StarPlayr was on the way from NiceMac.
Two weeks ago, word arrived from NiceMac that the app was neither approved nor rejected by Apple... perhaps keeping it out of the way of an official Sirius app rumored last week. No independent developer wants to be in this no-app's-land between approval on the store and a branded app around the corner, so you can probably guess what happens next.
Early this morning, a blog post on the starplayr.com site confirmed what many of us expected: NiceMac is abandoning development of the StarPlayr app, not only on the iPhone but on Windows Mobile as well. Refunds for WinMo licensees will be available on a first-come, first-served basis until NiceMac runs out of cash.
It's a sad and frustrating outcome, not only for the hardworking team behind StarPlayr but also for the eager fans who were ready to lay down their cash for the app. Without some sort of advance roadmap for internal/partner projects from Apple, or a published list of 'no-go zones' for third party developers to stay clear of the official-app juggernaut, this is going to happen again. I understand that competitive pressures may force Apple to keep licensing and development deals under wraps -- chances are, the team answering emails in Developer Relations has no idea what's in the works up in the executive offices -- but there's got to be a way to avoid this deep chill on innovation and investment from third-party devs.
Update: As some commenters have pointed out, the back-end infrastructure of StarPlayr is being shut down, which will disable the WinMo version of the app. This points strongly towards Sirius/XM, and not Apple, as the Big Bad in this scenario.