Apple has denied updating the App Store rules regarding in-app purchases - and which Sony fell foul of with their Reader for iPhone app - claiming instead that it is merely enforcing a rule that has been in the guidelines for some time. "We have not changed our developer terms or guidelines," Apple spokesperson Trudy Muller told AllThingsD. "We are now requiring that if an app offers customers the ability to purchase books outside of the app, that the same option is also available to customers from within the app with in-app purchase."
The rule in question is believed to be 11.2:
11.2 Apps utilizing a system other than the In App Purchase API (IAP) to purchase content, functionality, or services in an app will be rejected
It, along with Muller's statement, implies that Amazon could continue to sell ebooks via its current method - opening up the regular Amazon webpage in the Safari browser - but if so it would also be required to offer an internal system using Apple's in-app purchasing system. Since IAP items are treated as just more app store content by Apple, that might mean Amazon had to individually submit each ebook for approval, as well as handing over 30-percent of the takings in an iTunes tithe. It's also unclear whether Amazon would then allow Kindle users to re-download - from their own servers - the IAP content on Kindle ereaders or non-iOS versions of the app.
If anything, the clarification has made the situation a little more confusing; Apple looks to be pushing for a bigger cut of the content pie, and since Sony's Reader app looks to have used the same browser-based purchasing system as Amazon's, that implies Amazon may well have to tweak the Kindle app too. Apple has also been using rule 11.2 to crack-down on emagazine subscriptions; according to Monday Note, publishers have been told that they have a "grace period" up until June 30 2011 to enable the required IAP support:
"For existing apps already on the App Store, we are providing a grace period to bring your app into compliance with this guideline. To ensure your app remains on the App Store, please submit an update that uses the In App Purchase API for purchasing content, by June 30, 2011"