Apple Relaxes App Store Rules, Opens Up Competition

No, today isn't April Fool's Day. But it sure feels like it. Apple is notorious for taking a stand and sticking with it, regardless of criticism. They haven't backed down on their resistance to add Flash support, and they haven't backed down on their App Store regulations that prevents app makers from creating apps that "duplicate" functionality that came with the phone. This is the reason there's no "real" Gmail app for the iPhone, for example. But today, out of nowhere, Apple pulled a 180 that is a blessing for consumers everywhere.

The App Store has more apps than any other competing mobile app store, even Google's Android Market. But app developers have very strict rules to follow, and it's not exactly easy to get a "controversial" app into the market. It seems that Apple has finally come to the conclusion that they cannot keep this up as they have in the past, and today they have made a public statement on App Store review guidelines. And it's all for the better.

Rather than getting even more strict, Apple is relaxing policies that have frustrated developers and users alike for the past few years. Here's the quote that really says it all:

"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."

This means that third-party tools and ad services (like AdMob) are now allowed, which greatly opens up competition with Apple's own iAd. This may also open up the market for game ports as well as Adobe apps, though we aren't sure if this means that Flash is incoming. We certainly hope so though, and we would expect for Adobe (and others) to come forward with statements praising the move shortly. Thanks for listening, Apple!