Apple Loosening iOS App Development Restrictions

Posted Sep 9, 2010

Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) is loosening the rules for iPhone application development after taking a lot of criticism. Apple announced that they “are relaxing all restrictions on the development tools used to create iOS apps” and “publishing app review guidelines.”

Previous Restrictions
After Adobe created a set of tools that allowed developers to create iPhone and iPad applications using their Flash software, Apple created a list of rules in the iOS Developer Program license that did not give permission for developers to use Flash for creating apps. The license said that developers must use software for the iOS platform using Apple’s Objective-C tools.

Developers that used the 3D Unity game engine were not thrilled either. There were many games in the App Store that were already created using Unity at that point as well.

New Rules
Apple decided to go back on their previous restrictions after seeing some applications created using the Unreal Engine. Most notably is a game called Epic Citadel. Epic Citadel is a cross-platform 3D game engine which was previously not allowed in the App Store because of the iOS developer license.

Whether Apple allows applications created using Flash software is still a question mark though. Apple has not directly said anything about allowing applications to be sold on the App Store using Flash.

Apple Press Release Excerpt:
“We are continually trying to make the App Store even better. We have listened to our developers and taken much of their feedback to heart. Based on their input, today we are making some important changes to our iOS Developer Program license in sections 3.3.1, 3.3.2 and 3.3.9 to relax some restrictions we put in place earlier this year.

In particular, we are relaxing all restrictions on the development tools used to create iOS apps, as long as the resulting apps do not download any code. This should give developers the flexibility they want, while preserving the security we need.”

What Does This Mean?
Going forward, this means the App Store will be more competitive for developers. Consumers will have a lot more options. And the amount of “spam” applications will most likely rise. Apple will have to do something to make sure to highlight applications that are not crap. I’ve seen them feature a lot of crappy applications using not-so-great algorithms.