Apple no longer banning third-party iOS development tools

Posted:
in iPhone edited January 2014
Apple on Thursday announced that it would no longer ban intermediary development tools for iOS as long as App Store software does not download any code, potentially paving the way for third-party software to convert applications from other formats like Adobe Flash.



In the statement, the company revealed that it had made "important changes" to sections 3.3.1, 3.3.2 and 3.3.9 of its iOS Developer Program license, relaxing some of the restrictions that were put in place earlier this year. The company has also published the approval guidelines for its tightly controlled App Store, in which all software must be reviewed before it is released.



The changes come just weeks after evidence surfaced that the U.S. Federal Trade Commission was looking into a complaint from Adobe over Apple's banning of Flash from iOS devices. The FTC denied a public records request related to the case, stating that the release of such documents could interfere with an ongoing investigation.



Earlier this year, Apple updated its iOS 4 SDK to ban intermediary tools that would allow the porting of applications from Adobe's Flash, Sun's Java, or Microsoft's Silverlight/Mono.



The change was made after Adobe announced that its Creative Suite 5 would include an application that would allow developers to port their applications to the iPhone from Flash. Adobe eventually abandoned further development of the application following Apple's announcement. That was also when the company filed a complaint with the FTC.



Apple Chief Executive Steve Jobs publicly commented on the matter in an open letter published in late April, in which he slammed Adobe Flash as a Web tool that is unfit for the modern, mobile era of computing. He also said that an intermediary tool for converting Flash applications to the iPhone would produce "sub-standard apps," and would hinder the progress of the platform.



At the time, Jobs said he knew from "painful experience" that allowing developers to become dependent on a third-party tool, such as Adobe Flash, rather than writing natively for the iPhone is restrictive. "We cannot be at the mercy of a third party deciding if and when they will make our enhancements available to our developers," Jobs wrote.



As for the publication of App Store approval guidelines, Apple has repeatedly come under fire for not being open enough with developers. Some who write for the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch have complained that it is unclear what software is acceptable.



The most high-profile App Store review incident came in 2009, when Apple refused to approve the Google Voice application, a telephony service from the search giant. The matter was investigated by the U.S. Federal Communications Commission, and Apple at the time denied that it had rejected the Google Voice app, but said it was continuing to "study it."



The full statement from Thursday is included in its entirety:



The App Store has revolutionized the way mobile applications are developed and distributed. With over 250,000 apps and 6.5 billion downloads, the App Store has become the world’s largest mobile application platform and App Store developers have earned over one billion dollars from the sales of their apps.



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.



In addition, for the first time we are publishing the App Store Review Guidelines to help developers understand how we review submitted apps. We hope it will make us more transparent and help our developers create even more successful apps for the App Store.



The App Store is perhaps the most important milestone in the history of mobile software. Working together with our developers, we will continue to surprise and delight our users with innovative mobile apps.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 176
    aiolosaiolos Posts: 228member
    Bout time!
  • Reply 2 of 176
    Apple pwns!
  • Reply 3 of 176
    As much as I'd hate to see ported Flash apps, this is a huge step forward. Love the transparency.



    Congrats, Apple!



    (Guess Android is making you a little nervous, eh?!)



    This news along with paying developers when they reach lowered financial threshold is a great thing. Competition is good.
  • Reply 4 of 176
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by bikertwin View Post


    Competition is good.



    Competition is neither good nor bad. Its results can be constructive, or destructive. It is only the actions of competitors that make the result of competition positive or negative, and there is no guarantee what the result will be.
  • Reply 5 of 176
    vinney57vinney57 Posts: 1,162member
    Nothing to do with Android.



    Rationalises the rules to allow the various gaming engines and code converters (whilst keeping out Flash) ahead of any trade body investigations.
  • Reply 6 of 176
    asciiascii Posts: 5,941member
    Get ready for all the apps written by retards!
  • Reply 7 of 176
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by anonymouse View Post


    Competition is neither good nor bad. Its results can be constructive, or destructive. It is only the actions of competitors that make the result of competition positive or negative, and there is no guarantee what the result will be.



    I agree with what you?re saying but as a general rule I say the simple answer bikertwin is also correct.





    Quote:
    Originally Posted by vinney57 View Post


    Nothing to do with Android.



    Rationalises the rules to allow the various gaming engines and code converters (whilst keeping out Flash) ahead of any trade body investigations.



    That is how I read it. I don?t expect to see Adobe Flash on the iPhone anytime soon, but I also don?t expect to see Adobe Flash on most mobile OSes. September 2010 and still only on some (not all) Android v2.2 ?Froyo? devices. Wasn?t it suppose to be on all devices, sans the iPhone back in 2008, leaving iPhone OS in the dust.
  • Reply 8 of 176
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by ascii View Post


    Get ready for all the apps written by retards!



    Ever browse the app store by release date? There are tens of thousands of those already.



    Developers with high standards will continue to release good software, regardless of the tools they use. Developers with low standards will continue to release junk, regardless of the tools they use.
  • Reply 9 of 176
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by anonymouse View Post


    Competition is neither good nor bad. Its results can be constructive, or destructive. It is only the actions of competitors that make the result of competition positive or negative, and there is no guarantee what the result will be.



    What a terrible thing to say. Competition is a very good thing. Unless you're a shareholder I guess.
  • Reply 10 of 176
    nkhmnkhm Posts: 928member
    Might be complete nonsense, but I wonder if this could have anything to do with the new mystery app in iLife 11 - some form of simple development tool for the average user to create an app which is then ported to iOS ready format - apple could hardly create a tool to let users do this and then stop other tools (such as flash) from doing the same. Just a though, might be rubbish.
  • Reply 11 of 176
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by ascii View Post


    Get ready for all the apps written by retards!





    Exactly. Deluged by brainless web app morons.
  • Reply 12 of 176
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Zweben View Post


    Ever browse the app store by release date? There are tens of thousands of those already





    But now it will get even worse. Hmm actually, most of the crap ones in the store are already made by third party dev tools.
  • Reply 13 of 176
    For those interested, here is the link to the Review Guidelines: http://developer.apple.com/appstore/...uidelines.html



    Hope non-developers can also access it.
  • Reply 14 of 176
    Nice move Apple, although I do wonder about the actual reasons that brought about this change of policy.
  • Reply 15 of 176
    asciiascii Posts: 5,941member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Zweben View Post


    Developers with high standards will continue to release good software, regardless of the tools they use. Developers with low standards will continue to release junk, regardless of the tools they use.



    Easier to use tools will allow people to develop that previously could not, due to the difficulty of Objective-C/Xcode.



    And often tools make programming easier by hiding detail. And the more detail hidden away, the more general the code generated. And the more general the code, the less domain specific knowledge it can leverage for any one particular app. Less efficient apps = more CPU wastage, more memory used, less battery life, worse for the environment, lower opinion of the device overall by customers.



    Nice one Apple! Don't you care about the overall quality of your products? Or the trees!?
  • Reply 16 of 176
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Chintan100 View Post


    For those interested, here is the link to the Review Guidelines: http://developer.apple.com/appstore/...uidelines.html



    Hope non-developers can also access it.



    My free developer account redirects me to a Page Not Found, though the URL clearly says "unauthorized". You likely need to be a paying developer in order to read it.
  • Reply 17 of 176
    drdoppiodrdoppio Posts: 1,132member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by bikertwin View Post


    ...

    (Guess Android is making you a little nervous, eh?!)



    This news along with paying developers when they reach lowered financial threshold is a great thing. Competition is good.



    You bet.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by dlcmh View Post


    Nice move Apple, although I do wonder about the actual reasons that brought about this change of policy.



    Quite the U-turn, isn't it? No consistency whatsoever -- except in the determination to stay on top.
  • Reply 18 of 176
    asciiascii Posts: 5,941member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by monstrosity View Post


    Exactly. Deluged by brainless web app morons.



    Ugh. All those web apps on the iPad. That's an image I won't get out of my head easily. C'mon Apple, keep it elite, put the customers before the developers.
  • Reply 19 of 176
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by nkhm View Post


    Might be complete nonsense, but I wonder if this could have anything to do with the new mystery app in iLife 11 - some form of simple development tool for the average user to create an app which is then ported to iOS ready format - apple could hardly create a tool to let users do this and then stop other tools (such as flash) from doing the same. Just a though, might be rubbish.



    What would an average user would want to create that needs to be an app? Digital greeting cards?
  • Reply 20 of 176
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by dlcmh View Post


    Nice move Apple, although I do wonder about the actual reasons that brought about this change of policy.



    The Federal Trade Commission probably called Jobs and told him he was going to jail if he didn't stop trying to rule the world.
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