September 9, 2010
Apple announced today that they were loosening the reigns on some very tight restrictions that they put in place earlier in the year. To recap, these restrictions limited what developers could do in a few specific areas:
Third Party Developer Tools & Languages – This restriction basically said that Apple only wanted you to build native apps with Xcode and Objective-C and that they didn’t want you using cross-compiling tools like Adobe CS5 Flash’s “Export to App” functionality. Today, this section has been completely removed and Apple is happy to accept your binary as long as it abides by the same guidelines that all native apps must follow.
- Interpreters - One thing that Apple has always been against from Day 1 is the process of executing external code in your application. This basically prevents emulator type applications from showing up on the App Store. Today, Apple is allowing interpreted code as long as it is bundled with the application and that the app doesn’t download code and execute it. This really isn’t much of a change to Apple’s original policy aside from clarifying it a bit.
- Privacy and Analytics – This is the big one for Mobclix and other companies like us that provide advertising and analytical service to app developers. Originally, when the 3.3.9 clause was introduced earlier this year, it was deemed as a blatant attack at AdMob (owned by Google) in order to prevent them from serving advertisements on the App Store platform; however, today it looks like Apple has further clarified this clause and is allowing developers to collect information about their users (assuming they notify them) as long as it is relevant to the functionality of their application or if they are using such data to advertise. This is great news for Mobclix as it means that we are still free to operate and provide our service to users without worrying about breaking any rules!
In addition to the easing up of restrictions, Apple has also published some really good application guidelines for developers. Not only are the guidelines very specific, but also very candid which is nice to see from a big company like Apple. Apple is very upfront about their decisions in this guide and makes it clear as to why they have rejected many apps over the past few years and why they will continue to do so in the future. Not EVERYTHING is accounted for, but for the most part, it’s a nice addition to the App Store documentation that will hopefully make your life a bit easier as a developer. To view the complete App Store Review Guidelines, you can go here.