This is a big day for Apple and developers on Apple’s platforms. While there has been a lot of focus on the company’s switch to its own ARM-based silicon, WWDC’s first day was mostly filled with software-related news across desktop and mobile. While much of these things are still sinking in, Apple announced another explosive change that finally gives its App Store a semblance of openness, at least as far as opinions go.
Apple is famous for exercising an iron grip on the App Store to ensure the quality and safety of apps. It is, however, also infamous for rules that are sometimes implemented unfairly or are unfair themselves. Rules that sometimes suddenly change to suit Apple’s position without prior warning.
Apple is now surprisingly giving a voice in that area. It is a single sentence in a single paragraph in a long article about changes that will be coming to the App Store but it is one that may have the most substantial effect for both old and new developers. Developers will now be able to question and challenge Apple’s App Store guidelines.
App developers have always had the ability to appeal decisions made against their apps by reviewers but that’s as far as they can get. Whether or not they agree with the rules is not even considered. Although Apple has yet to elaborate on how it plans to implement this, it’s still a huge change of direction for the company.
The timing is equally interesting. This small announcement comes after the drama over Basecamp’s new Hey email app that was first approved and then rejected based on App Store policies that many have been questioning from the get-go. It also comes at a time when Apple is being investigated by the European Commission exactly for those guidelines.