When Apple announced iOS 4 way back in April, they decided to make the walls of their proverbial "walled garden" a little higher by only allowing developers to write their apps in C, C++, or Objective C code. In a very non-Apple move, however, the company today decided to loosen the restrictions on App Store development, allowing devs to create apps using any method they'd like, as long as the apps do not "download any code." This means that devs can even use Adobe Flash CS5 to create apps and convert them into Apple-approved form. Apple also announced today that it would be publishing its App Store Review Guidelines which, up until now, have been harder to figure out than a riddle wrapped up in an enigma. Apple's press release can be found below, and you can check out the PDF of the App Store Review Guidelines right here.
While it's unclear why Apple decided to ease the App Store development rules and make the review process more transparent (I have a feeling it's thanks to a certain green robot), it's still great to see them do it. I'm surprised to see Apple backpedal and change their stance on App Store development, but this isn't something that I would get used to. Just because they've loosened things up for devs doesn't mean we'll be seeing Flash on iOS any time soon.
Statement by Apple on App Store Review Guidelines
The App Store? has revolutionized the way mobile applications are developed and distributed. With over 250,000 apps and 6.5 billion downloads, the App Store has become the world's largest mobile application platform and App Store developers have earned over one billion dollars from the sales of their apps.
We are continually trying to make the App Store even better. 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.
The App Store is perhaps the most important milestone in the history of mobile software. Working together with our developers, we will continue to surprise and delight our users with innovative mobile apps.