Greater freedom for app developers as Apple relaxes the rules

9 Sep 2010

Apple has made changes in the iOS Developer Program licence in order to loosen restrictions on app development, which were placed earlier in the year. The company has also published the App Store Review Guidelines to the public to improve transparency.

After talking with developers, Apple has relaxed restrictions on the development tools used to create iOS apps, as long as these apps do not download any code.

They have specifically relaxed sections 3.3.1, 3.3.2 and 3.3.9 in the licence.

Apple has removed the rule saying how apps should only be written in Objective-C, C or C++ as executed by the iPhone OS WebKit engine or compiled against the Documented APIs.

This may open up room for developers to use Flash in order to create apps, after Apple controversially withdrew support for it.

Apple has also opened its App Store Review Guidelines to the public, so they can see how the app acceptance process works.

The document has many interesting stipulations, such as displaying its distaste for cruder apps.

“We have over 250,000 apps in the App Store. We don’t need any more fart apps,” the document reads.

“If your app doesn’t do something useful or provide some form of lasting entertainment, it may not be accepted.”

The guidelines also point out that Apple has full discretion in determining if an app goes ‘over the line.’

“What line, you ask?” it states, “Well, as a Supreme Court Justice once said, ‘I’ll know it when I see it’. And we think that you will also know it when you cross it.”

Apple app guidelines

Some points within the document include how Apple will only accept apps of a high quality and will reject apps that are inconsistent with what they say they do, are duplicate apps, have metadata containing the name of rival mobile platforms and are pornographic apps.

The document reassures app developers that its strict guidelines are a result of ‘love.’

“Lastly, we love this stuff, too, and honour what you do,” reads the document.

“We’re really trying our best to create the best platform in the world for you to express your talents and make a living, too.

“If it sounds like we’re control freaks, well, maybe it’s because we’re so committed to our users and making sure they have a quality experience with our products. Just like almost all of you are, too,” it reads.