On Thursday, after two years of complaints from application developers for its mobile devices, Apple opened up some leeway and even released the guidelines they use to determine whether apps will make the grade.
Apple has been criticized for the closed system that characterizes the app approval process, with its rigidly tight control over content and applications for its i-things. The release earlier this year of the iPad was hailed by many as a revolution in content delivery, with many struggling media companies rushing to embrace the platform — and in some very innovative ways, it must be said.
But the company, as popular as its devices are, is also reviled for what is seen as sloppy interface software (lookin’ at you, iTunes) and an authoritarian attitude with respect to the content you can view and use with those devices.
None of that has changed, but what has is that Apple has released the guidelines so developers can have some idea what kind of reception their apps will face when submitted to Apple for approval.
“We will reject Apps for any content or behavior that we believe is over the line. What line, you ask? 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,” the guidelines say.
But even this small amount of openness comes with a caveat:
“If your app is rejected, we have a Review Board that you can appeal to. If you run to the press and trash us, it never helps.”
Apple also lifted restrictions they imposed earlier this year on third-party tools that convert code written for another platform into code that can be used in iPhone apps. While this means that developers who work in Adobe Flash or Oracle’s Java languages can translate their programs into iPhone apps without rewriting them from scratch, it does NOT mean that websites designed in Flash will work on Apple’s devices. Basically, Flash is too buggy, too demanding on battery life and focused too heavily on personal computers to have any relevance to Apple’s popular portable devices.