No Java or Adobe AIR apps in Apple’s Mac App Store

Apple’s App Store Review Guidelines appear to forbid Java or Adobe AIR applications from being published in the store:

Apps that use deprecated or optionally installed technologies (e.g., Java, [PowerPC code requiring] Rosetta) will be rejected.

Since Adobe AIR is not shipped by default with OS X, any applications requiring that runtime will not qualify. Java is forbidden because Apple has deprecated its own build of Java; and while it seems supportive of Oracle’s official OpenJDK project for Mac OS X, apparently that support does not extend to allowing Java apps into the store.

Of course it is not only Java and Adobe AIR that are affected, but any apps that need a runtime.

There are many other provisions, most of which seem sensible in order to protect the user’s experience with the App Store. Some of them have potential for causing controversy:

Apps that duplicate apps already in the App Store may be rejected, particularly if there are many of them. Apps that are not very useful or do not provide any lasting entertainment value may be rejected.

What defines duplication in this context? How will Apple test whether an app has “lasting entertainment value” – I presume this refers to games.

The situation on Mac OS X is different than on the iPhone or iPad, since users can easily install apps via other routes. That said, if the App Store catches on then not being included may become a significant disadvantage. Further, it will not surprise me if Apple starts hinting that non-approved apps carry more risk to the user, so that some users might decide to avoid anything without this official stamp of approval.

I wonder if Adobe will do a Flash packager for the Mac similar to that which it offers for iOS, to get round these restrictions?

7 thoughts on “No Java or Adobe AIR apps in Apple’s Mac App Store”

  1. Hi, Tim. In my opinion, I don’t think Apple will allow this kind of ‘violation’ to be happened. Apple seems plan to create their ecosystem kingdom. I agree with you that Adobe should do something to support Flash developer. But I think the result will come with some kind of ‘Android App Store’.

  2. “…will be rejected …will be rejected …will be rejected”

    If Apple from whatsoever reason doesn’t like your app in their App Store, it will be rejected. So think 10 times before investing your time & money into building apps for the App Store…

  3. I find this funny.

    Does this mean if Adobe wants to add a version of Lightroom to the App Store – it cannot because Apple already has Aperture available ?

    Does this mean that no Photo editing software is allowed to be added since Apple has already included iPhoto ? Oh wait Pixelmatoir is featured and available. Something seems to be amiss here w/ Apple’s own policy.

    Funny how that works.

  4. UPDATE: yeah this is just and all-around bad idea – can’t wait for Apple to have last rights over what you do and do not install on your computer.

    “Oh – can’t install that because Apple’s amiguous unpublished approval process forbids it!”

  5. AIR is wonderful, but I’m also worried that Apple may start blocking it or warning users not to install it (they already warn before opening anything downloaded including AIR). I think Adobe will keep pushing AIR rather than making a packager for the mac app store. AIR still works perfectly between Linux, Windows and Mac so it still has a big advantage.

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