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Sorry but I suspect this has nothing to do with Apple "allowing" anything. It's simply a feature that for whatever reason hasn't been implemented, if it ever will be, just as there are TONS of iPhone features my company Blackberry doesn't have.
As for why a third-party app can't do it that makes sense to me in that it's core to the phone's function and would mean Apple would have to allow some sort of "patching" which brings about other possible issues.
Since the feature is not there we're just offering suggestions!
BTW! Another thing you can do to reduce unwanted sales calls, or getting put on some list, is to get a Google Voice number and provide that number to ALL businesses you deal with. Any credit card companies, etc., who love to sell your number. Then have the GV number forward to your cell. If a number calls you don't like you can block it in the GV web site and have it go to that VM box or get a "no longer in service" message back. AGAIN, not a solution but a potential way, along with the silent ring, to reduce the burden.
In iOS 5 go to Settings>General>Accessibility.
Turn Custom Vibrations On.
You can now go into specific contacts and set custom vibration patterns. One of the options is "None". If you've assigned a silent ring tone, this will keep the phone from vibrating when they call as well.
Here's the deal, Apple would have to implement this as a feature of the iOS for it to truly work...ala Blackberry. The reason all the apps in the app store, that claim to provide this functionality, have terrible reviews is that Apple does not permit access to the private API's necessary to make them work properly. That's a good thing, by the way(in terms of API access). So, if you want this as a feature, tell Apple:
I have asked Apple. Apple is not responding. I suspect they are ensuring cell company revenue streams as it seems an obvious and easy feature to offer. Any VOIP phone system can do this using the ANI.
If my VOIP can do it, Apple could and should do it.
BTW, thanks for the custom vibrate advice. Still need to be able to hang up and shut off VM access.
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