Apple has constantly been under scrutiny regarding their App store approval policy and today they took a solid first step in becoming more transparent with developers about that process. They announced in a statement this morning that for the first time they are relaxing restrictions related to iOS development tools and publishing their App store review guidelines for developers.
Apple's control / perceived lack of openness has always been less about dictating with some bias about what apps get in and which ones don't. Their review and approval process has always been about preserving the experience for the consumer. Hopefully now that they have published their review and approval guidelines developers will understand how they approve apps and use this knowledge to create better applications for iOS.
I am also excited to see what kind of applications developers create with the relaxed restrictions to the tool set. I had heard complaints from developers about some features they wanted to add in future versions of apps but knew they couldn't because of these restrictions. As Apple said in the statement "this should give developers the flexibility they want, while preserving the security we need." Hopefully this will not only allow developers to create more compelling applications but hopefully it will also attract more developers to innovate and create software for iOS.
Both moves are important for Apple as they cater and attempt to work with developers to make the App store a better experience for everyone. Software developers are an important part of Apple's immediate and long term future. So it is critical that they continue to listen and adapt in order to attract and maintain quality application developers.
Things to Watch
- How will developers react to this move?
- Is it enough to satisfy the critics of Apple's App store approval process?
- How will developers take advantage of the relaxed iOS toolset