Apple changes app store rules, to become more open and transparent

apple-ipadApple has long been restrictive with what apps get approved in its iOS app store found on the iPhone and iPad.

Since 2008, when Apple firstly opened the doors to the App Store, the company has yet to publish a governing list of rules to help developers better understand on what grounds the company rejects or approves applications – until today: Apple said it would publish a list of governing policies to help developers better understand the approval process.

Apple previously decided to allow developers to only use the computer programming language Objective-C, including C++, effectively blocking other programming platforms like JavaScript, and Adobe’s hugely popular Flash platform.

In a recent blog post, Apple chief executive Mr. Jobs, expressed his views specifically about Flash, essentially claiming the proprietary Flash platform is dated and not suited for mobile devices, instead opting towards the open source HTML5 standard.

The direction of Apple not only initiated an anti-trust investigation by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC), but also forced Adobe to announce the company would cancel all plans to develop for the iPhone and iPad.

During that time, Adobe chief executive Mr. Narayen announced Flash support would be added by the end of this year to other popular mobile platforms, including Google Android, BlackBerry, and WebOS powered mobile devices.

Without taking into consideration that Flash was banned by Apple, Adobe remained very optimistic about the future, forecasting that Flash would be installed on more than 250-million mobile handsets by the end of 2012.

According to Adobe CEO Mr. Narayen, about 75-percent of all Internet websites currently use Flash.

Even if there are better alternatives to Flash, like HTML5, for arguments sake, still, many top websites already use Flash and it is not as easy for them to re-program web applications to make the switch to another platform. It would also be a costly process, and they really don’t have that much of an incentive, at least for now, to switch given that the majority of the other smartphones will support Flash anyway.

Likely the result of intensifying pressure from market competitors who were raising anti-trust concerns, the shift in Apple’s direction should effectively remove the ban placed on Adobe’s Flash platform, giving developers more choice in choosing programming platforms that better suit their needs.

Apple said in a statement today, “In particular, we are relaxing all restrictions on the development tools used to create iOS apps,”

The only remaining restriction is that unapproved APIs cannot be used, and apps cannot download further code after approved, in order to ensure iOS security.

The new rules should not be misconstrued in the way that Flash would work on Safari for iPhone or iPad.

Flash remains blocked in that respect, and it appears that will not change in the short term given a reaffirming statement today by Apple saying the changes only affect the app development process.

Additionally, the removal of these restrictions will be more pleasing for individual developers who had to previously purchase separate costly systems to develop specifically for iOS devices.

In a bid to become more transparent, Apple said it would publish a list of governing rules that are used as a basis to internally approve applications.

Apple’s App Store currently has the most number of apps available on any mobile platform, with over 250,000 apps.

Google’s Android Marketplace has the second largest mobile application store with over 200,000 apps available.

BlackBerry currently has just over 10,000 available apps on BlackBerry App World.

The Adobe stock (NASDAQ:ADBE) is trading up by more than 12-percent to $32.81 per share, with the Apple news likely having a strong positive impact.

The Apple stock (NASDAQ:AAPL) is trading up almost 1-percent at $265.35 per share just past mid-day trading in today’s trading session.


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Tahir holds a Bachelor Commerce Finance degree from Ryerson University in Toronto. He is planning to purse an MBA in Finance. Write to tahir@business2press.com
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  • Pinchio

    This article is poorley written, you speak of Apple relaxing regulations however you do not speak specifically what has been relaxed.

    • Hercules K

      Hi there,nnApple has publically said today it would publish a list of rules related to the approval process for the app store.nnAdditionally, as clearly expressed, the company would also be allowing developers to choose their own respective programming platforms, and not just Objective-C.n

  • Ashley981

    this is a good start to say the least…..Apple is just as closed as Adobe…if not worse….Hello Android.

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  • Whatever

    There’s nothing out there better than Flash. HTML5 is a document format… not a full-blown web development platform with high-efficiency content, graphics, and its own scripting language.

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    The direction of Apple not only initiated an anti-trust investigation by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC), but also forced Adobe to announce the company would cancel all plans to develop for the iPhone and iPad. – as far as i know there is an application can read pdf files.

  • Nosuchperson

    The lack of flash support pretty much cripples the iPad in my opinion. The main use for the iPad is web browsing and it’s getting to the point where I am going to sell my iPad as so many web sites are unusable. With so many tablets coming onto the Market, all allowing flash, I can see a point where apple will end up hitting their own sales but this insane sulk they are having with adobe.

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