Apple lifts restrictions on app development tools, publishes review guidelines

Apple has lifted its restrictions on the development tools used to create iOS (iPhone and iPad) apps, in a statement published today:

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.

In addition, Apple says it is publishing the App Store Review Guidelines in the hope that this will make the approval process more transparent.

Good news I guess; but why? Maybe in part because the restrictions made little sense and were possibly unenforceable; and in part because Android’s popularity is putting pressure on Apple to be more developer-friendly. In practice, some apps that you would have thought breached the requirements apparently made it through the approval process; and those publishers of cross-platform tools which kept their nerve have their patience rewarded.

But what about Adobe? Apple’s development restrictions seems to trigger a significant change of direction, with work on the Packager for iPhone stopped, Android devices issued to employees, and evangelism for Android in Adobe blogs and tweets.

Since Apple is not changing its mind about runtimes, but only about development tools, this change of mind does not enable Flash on the iPhone; but I guess Adobe could now revive its cross-compilation work. On the other hand, Apple’s pronouncements have caused disruption for Adobe and perhaps served more as a wake-up call: this is a closed platform with one owner and therefore a risky target for investment.

Related posts:

  1. Intel fights back against iOS with free tools for HTML5 cross-platform mobile development
  2. Enterprise app development on Apple iPhone and iPad
  3. Why it’s hard to compete with Apple in mobile app development and deployment
  4. PHP Development Tools 2.0 released, joins official Eclipse “Galileo” release
  5. Cross-platform Windows and Mac lifts Delphi sales by 54%

3 comments on this post.
  1. Jarle Stabell:

    When I read the press release, I assumed Apple has lifted the restrictions on which development language to use. But this seems to not be the case, they have only lifted restrictions on which development tools to use, you still have to (originally) write your apps using one of Apple’s “blessed” languages. Look at the first comment here:

  2. Matthew Fabb:

    Jarle, here’s an article comparing the old SDK rules and the new set of rules and there’s no more mention of Objective-C, C, C++:
    From this wording, where it only mentions restrictions from private APIs, it seems that this does open the door to Flash CS5 as well as all other 3rd party tools.

  3. Jarle Stabell:

    I agree. I just read the same thing here.