Today is an important day for the world of autism.
For people who don't know me, I am John LeSieur, the inventor of Zac Browser and a grandfather to two grandchildren with autism. Zac Browser was initially created for my grandson, Zackary. When we noticed the important benefits he gained from the technology, we decided to give Zac Browser for free to the whole world. Today, Zac Browser is reaching over 3.2 million users, and it's far from over. We have spent numerous months developing Zac Browser Gold for iPad, and after submitting our software to Apple, they have declined our technology. We were in total shock, and the given reasons were far from understandable. They wanted our technology to include Apple's button and functions, such as opening links in a popup on their own browser, which didn't make sense and was far from secure to our end user. We wrote an appeal in hopes that someone with better understanding of our objectives would approve Zac Browser for iPad, but once again, it was rejected.
We have started a petition on change.org hoping for a "change." We have shared the petition, and within the first 24 hours we had over 1,000 signatures and received a phone call from Apple. Our first conversation lasted over 60 minutes that has resulted in mixed feelings from happiness that they called to extreme frustration because I have had the impression that they were far from understanding what autism is. What a bad experience it has been to pay Apple to review your product and be turned down, not because of a security issue, but simply because they didn't see added value. I told them that if they don't see any security issue, why wouldn’t they let the end user decide if Zac Browser is for them or not? As a response, I was told that it's not the way Apple does business. I have asked if it's because Zac Browser was completely free of charge and wouldn't bring more revenue to Apple, but again, they said no.
During the last review, they have complained that Zac Browser didn't have much content on iPad, and this is something we totally agree on. But I have reminded them that in April 2010, Apple published an open letter explaining why they wouldn't allow Flash on iPad. I think Apple made a really bad decision that day, and I suspect it was solely based on the Apple Store’s revenue. Websites like Disney, Nick Jr., PBS Kids, etc. are built with Flash and are not supported by iPad. That critical decision blocked thousands of websites and limited suitable content for children on the iPad. That being said, today, we are extremely proud to announce that Zac Browser Gold is finally available for iPad and it is offered completely free of charge. We want to thank everybody who has kindly signed the petition.
We have a strong mission and desire to providing the best tools to empower children with autism. We understand that blocking Flash from iPad has limited the content. Starting this week, Zac Browser will hold important meeting with parents, teachers and therapists via the World Autism Community, and together, we want to build important tools and activities for the autism community. We invite the population to share their ideas regarding what tools they need. Please visit the Apple Store to download Zac Browser Gold for iPad and join us on the World Autism Community to build a better future for people with autism.
Since 2008, we have provided a virtual playground for children with autism called Zac Browser. The software has won numerous prizes and was featured in the news around the world. Zac Browser is a software that is completely free of charge and used by over 3.2 million families and schools around the world.
Since the launch of the iPad, we have received numerous messages from parents, teachers and therapists requesting an iPad version of Zac Browser. We have decided to move forward and worked for months towards the development and adaptation of the software for the iPad.
We were ready in the beginning of March and just a month away from the World Autism Awareness Day, so imagine our enthusiasm while preparing for the launch of Zac Browser Gold for the iPad, completely free of charge, on April 2, 2013.
Apple have declined Zac Browser for 2 reasons:
"We found that your app only provides a very limited set of features. Lastly, we found the following issues with the user interface of your app: - Did not include iOS features. For example, it would be appropriate to use native iOS buttons and iOS features other than just web views, Push Notifications, or sharing."
We don’t think it was analyzed with our end-user in mind, and not all of our features were tested.
We have decided to appeal their decision, hoping the next reviewer will reverse their decision by simply understanding that children with special needs are not business people who may need Apple buttons, push notifications or sharing features.
After that second review, it is clear from Apple’s position that Zac Browser Gold is not an application they want to see on the Apple Store. Is this because it’s free and they won’t make money out if it? We don’t know or understand. We have prepared a quick demonstration of Zac Browser Gold on the iPad. Please see for yourself at the top of this page.
We don’t claim that Zac Browser Gold is perfect, but we do believe it is good enough to make it available on the iPad and allow parents, teachers and therapists to decide if they want to install it or not on their devices. As technology evolves and as we connect with our end users, we will be in an excellent position to improve Zac Browser on a regular basis.
We have started a petition asking Apple to authorize Zac Browser Gold on the Apple Store and make it available for the iPad. We kindly ask for your voice; we also request that you spread our message to people you know that may want to help. Please take a minute of your time and help us bring Zac Browser Gold to the iPad (Apple App Store).
Thank you for your time and support.