Has Apple Turned Over A Fresh Leaf In Its App Approval Policies?

iPhone application developers has always been angry due to Apple’s strict policies defined by iPhone App Review staff. But, lately, Apple has project a different stance on the process of app approval by not making it a process rather than making the App store family friendly with the third party applications.

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For the last few weeks, the debate was on for why the App store should exist, and Phil Schiller tried his best to convince the app developers on it. Steve Jobs intervening to approve a rejected app and Apple getting the New York Times project a more humane look at the company. Although these steps looks like more of an eye wash than anything else, but recent development at Apple demonstrates that there has been a visible change in the App store policies.

On the AppleInsider it is written about an app called iSimulate which had violated many app development rules and still it was accepted. However, Apple has warned the developers (through email) of the app that although the update has not been rejected, still the developers have to fix the violation until their next update. The email read:

"Thank you for submitting your update to iSimulate to the App Store. During our review of your application we found it is using a private API, which is in violation of the iPhone Developer Program License Agreement section 3.3.1; "3.3.1 Applications may only use Documented APIs in the manner prescribed by Apple and must not use or call any private APIs." While your application has not been rejected, it would be appropriate to resolve this issue in your next update.

The non-public API that is included in your application is UITouch._touchFlags. Please resolve this issue in your next update to iSimulate."

This news has been an encouraging and motivational factor for the iPhone app developers as their long standing complaint had been the complete rejection of iPhone apps for apparently minor violations. Although it is still not clear that what is in the policy and how many changes are made as it is not yet officially declared. But if rumors are to be believed than, this policy will help the developers to talk with the App on debatable issues without holding them as hostages.

As the Apple still has to give a statement on the policy, it is infeasible for Apple to make this concession to all these new apps, as thousands of iPhone apps are submitted for approval every week. But it looks like Apple may take the warning approach with those apps which are already in the App Store and whose updates violate development rules. With this Apple has indeed taken a leap forward in app approval process and for that they should be honored.

Write an email to the author of this post at jawad@techskipper.com

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