×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Apple Relaxes iOS Development Tool Restrictions

CmdrTaco posted more than 3 years ago | from the no-complaints-here dept.

Iphone 347

An anonymous reader writes "Earlier this year Apple caused major upset among developers by updating the iPhone developer program license with clause 3.3.1. It basically stopped the use of cross-platform compilers, meaning Adobe Flash could not be used to develop an app for the App Store. The move also put into doubt which other development platforms could be used and generally caused a lot of confusion. Apple has just significantly relaxed that policy and allowed for the use of development tools, as long as 'the resulting apps do not download any code.'"

cancel ×
This is a preview of your comment

No Comment Title Entered

Anonymous Coward 1 minute ago

No Comment Entered

347 comments

Problem (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33521836)

There are still interesting problems in not allowing to download or update any code. With the rise of jailbreaking iPhones and them running unsigned and modified applications (cracked and/or otherwise), there is no way for an anticheat system to update itself. All anticheat systems like Valve's VAC, PunkBuster and Blizzard's Warden rely on downloading updated code from the internet.

What this means for online iPhone games is that when someone releases a hack for the jailbroken iPhones, their users can completely ruin the games and legit players cannot do anything. And since Apple is a control freak, they check every update to your application slowly and ineffectely. All while the hacking is rampant and ruins everyones game.

There certainly are need for updating code and Apple needs to remove that clause too. We don't want walled gardens controlled by mega corporations, we want systems we can use the way we want.

Re:Problem (3, Insightful)

Kjella (173770) | more than 3 years ago | (#33521970)

And how is the situation you describe any different than every console? If you live in a signed sandbox, you live on the good graces of the signee. Doesn't seem like that's a dealbreaker to anyone.

Re:Problem (1)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 3 years ago | (#33522204)

Look at the differences between the Orange Box version of Team Fortress 2 and the PC version. Yeah, its a pretty big deal. Plus, Xbox live has a team to crack down on modded consoles that could have cheats.

But yeah, its a pretty big deal not being able to have lots of content such as Team Fortress 2.

Re:Problem (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33522506)

niggers, coons and jigaboos. and dune coons and sand niggers and yard apes. that is all.

Re:Problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33522842)

That's a whole lot of animals.

Re:Problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33522332)

It isn't different than the consoles. As far as I'm aware, zero games for either of the two main consoles (360 and PS3) implement complex client-side cheat prevention. If the console device is hosed, that's the end of it. It could be different for iPhone games in the future, since multi-player games for the consoles have not yet been compromised beyond modification of the installed data on attached storage, and the iPhone has typically been compromised fully from the very beginning.

Re:Problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33522084)

We don't want walled gardens controlled by mega corporations, we want systems we can use the way we want.

Then stay the heck away from Apple. All they offer on these consumer gadgets is the highly refined, highly controlled experience. It's the whole point of buying one. It's high fashion, not computing.

Re:Problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33522584)

We don't want walled gardens controlled by mega corporations, we want systems we can use the way we want.

Then stay the heck away from Apple. All they offer on these consumer gadgets is the highly refined, highly controlled experience. It's the whole point of buying one. It's high fashion, not computing.

Why is it always the "then don't use Apple devices" answer when people complain about Apple's restrictions on everything? Imagine the outcry here on Slashdot if Microsoft tried to ban every other browser than IE on Windows. Apple does that on iOS but suddenly it's ok since it's Apple.

Re:Problem (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33522830)

Do you bitch, whine and moan because Microsoft does the same shit on the Xbox 360 as Apple on iDevices? Mainly they are the gatekeepers?

Are you that fucking stupid that you can't even tell the difference between an all purpose computer and a console like appliance?

What a fucktard.

Re:Problem (1)

mikael_j (106439) | more than 3 years ago | (#33522884)

You're comparing apples and oranges. Microsoft Windows is by far the most common operating system on desktop computers (I'm including laptops and such in "desktops" here) while iOS is just one of several platforms for cellphones and other mobile devices. There's also the issue that Windows is a general purpose operating system for general purpose computing devices while iOS and the hardware it runs on is intended to be a fair bit more specialized. Now, if Apple held 90% of the desktop OS market and banned 3rd party dev tools and languages from OS X development you might have a case (hint: they haven't, you are free to install anything you want on your OS X machine, you can also download the source for a large part of the system from Apple's website).

Re:Problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33522118)

There is a big difference between downloading threat signatures and downloading executable machine code. I think this means an anti-cheat system would need to design a more robust data signature format that eliminates the necessity to constantly update the actual code. Possibly the program could implement a more powerful, locked-down interpreter that downloads script bytecode instead. I'm not an iPhone developer, so I don't know if that would be permitted.

PS: Are you eldavojohn?

Re:Problem (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33522284)

Another stellar odies/soppsa/SquarePixel Apple bashing post. Look retard, if you don't like walled gardens then do not buy a fucking iDevice.

Fucking parasite.

Re:Problem (1)

Arrepiadd (688829) | more than 3 years ago | (#33522322)

How is this different from the situation yesterday?
Until today you could also crack an application, make your score at the game whatever 999999999 points and so on. Have been people complaining about that?

Re:Problem (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33522528)

Yes, but what you describe is intrinsically insecure and while a PC game can submit that score through code modification means, the consoles can only currently do it by intercepting and editing network packets sent from the device. It seems like what the OP wants is magical DRM hardware, not an anti-cheat system. VAC and PB get *constantly* bypassed, and they would do absolutely nothing to revert illegitimate scores. VAC/PB/Warden like anti-virus are reactionary, they exist to provide a stable and fun gaming experience, not a 100% secure one.

What's wrong with issuing an update? (3, Informative)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 3 years ago | (#33522442)

there is no way for an anticheat system to update itself.

What's to prevent the game maker from simply issuing a software update, and having software issue challenges to each other related to versions before accepting games?

Online cheating is not as great a problem as with the PC's or consoles.

It only takes a few seconds to update a new version on the device.

Antivirus or any update. (2, Informative)

leuk_he (194174) | more than 3 years ago | (#33522524)

Most of the time these worries are about anti virus instead. There the updates also contain exe updates.

But the same update mechanism used for an normal application can apply to a any application. Let it bet antivirus, anti-cheat or a simple game. If you want to update it you do it via a the app-store, and don't come up with a own update system. If that is not good enough, that should be updated, not implement it on yourself.

The fact that windows does not have a central update system and every app has to do their own update mechanism is a bad thing of windows. And it is a sad fact that user have come accustomed to that.

Re:Problem (1)

blueg3 (192743) | more than 3 years ago | (#33522932)

The anti-cheat systems require updating code and not updating data that is used by code?

Re:Problem (4, Interesting)

tlhIngan (30335) | more than 3 years ago | (#33522954)

There are still interesting problems in not allowing to download or update any code. With the rise of jailbreaking iPhones and them running unsigned and modified applications (cracked and/or otherwise), there is no way for an anticheat system to update itself. All anticheat systems like Valve's VAC, PunkBuster and Blizzard's Warden rely on downloading updated code from the internet.

What this means for online iPhone games is that when someone releases a hack for the jailbroken iPhones, their users can completely ruin the games and legit players cannot do anything. And since Apple is a control freak, they check every update to your application slowly and ineffectely. All while the hacking is rampant and ruins everyones game.

There certainly are need for updating code and Apple needs to remove that clause too. We don't want walled gardens controlled by mega corporations, we want systems we can use the way we want.

Jailbroken and/or pirated apps are easily detected. So easily detected, that Apple doesn't really bother, because apps can do it themselves.

Firstly, an app downloaded from the App Store has DRM on it, which consists mostly of encrypted portions of the binary. That binary is then signed. On running the app, the kernel loads the app, validates the signature, then in-memory decrypts the binary, and finally runs it.

A cracked app can't be re-encrypted for a specific device, so they're shipped decrypted. The kernel, however, cannot load unsigned binaries unless a special flag is set to indicate that it's a decrypted binary that's OK.

An app just needs to check for that flag which exists in its info.plist file. It can do several checks - first, is info.plist in text format (it should be binary XML)? Second, do those keys exist in the file?

The apps that do the obvious checks are quickly re-patched to disable those checks, but there's nothing to say that an app has to pop up an "I'm pirated!" notice - it can silently report its pirated status to the server, for example, but otherwise run normally. Most crackers don't check, and most pirates won't bother. Even the ones running Firewall IP (a really nice firewall alert). You need someone to actually go and sniff the WiFi transmissions to ensure it's sending the same data to the server. Use SSL and you're golden. (Sure the pirate could disable all network access, but then who cares about single-player cheating?).

Also, assets are signed as well, so replacing all the textures with transparent ones also have the exact same issue - you have to go and decrypt the binary, make your mods and set the flag. There are also tests for jailbroken phones as well.

Online multiplayer is not a huge thing on iPhones, iPads and iPod Touches - at least, the ones where you can't do server-side validation of inputs (which you should do anyways). Local multiplayer may be a bigger deal, but there are probably social pressures against that behavior as well.

Yea (2, Interesting)

mrsteveman1 (1010381) | more than 3 years ago | (#33521866)

It's refreshing to see Apple wrong so many times in a row. Watching them backpedal is amusing.

Re:Yea (3, Insightful)

Tom (822) | more than 3 years ago | (#33522194)

At least they are. We all know companies that'd rather die than admit they were wrong.

Re:Yea (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33522672)

The reason why is because they want as many applications in their store as possible. People working with point-n-target tools were no longer permitted to put their applications in the Apple's store, and as Apple has a total monopoly application distributing for their iStuff, a lot of apps never got accepted. Apple never do anything for the good of their customers, only their income.

Re:Yea (2, Interesting)

Mongoose Disciple (722373) | more than 3 years ago | (#33522766)

At least they are. We all know companies that'd rather die than admit they were wrong.

Such as? I suspect that if you name a company or companies, people can point out similar things they backpedaled on.

Re:Yea (2, Insightful)

Zelgadiss (213127) | more than 3 years ago | (#33522258)

No significantly complex system comes out right the first time.
Apple has a goal, I believe it's to give as much freedom to 3rd party developers without losing control of the platform.

It's like how Blizzard balances WoW, they have "back-pedalled" countless times.

Re:Yea (1)

VGPowerlord (621254) | more than 3 years ago | (#33522664)

No significantly complex system comes out right the first time.
Apple has a goal, I believe it's to give as much freedom to 3rd party developers without losing control of the platform.

That's an interesting way of looking at it, considering that it runs completely counter to the iOS 4 guidelines which forbid applications written in any programming language other than Objective C, C, or C++.

No, the truth is that Apple implicitly targeted Adobe's Flash Packager for iPhone (due out the week after the new iOS4 terms were announced), but had the side effect of banning other companies converters due to it.

Re:Yea (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33522278)

It's refreshing to see Apple wrong so many times in a row. Watching them backpedal is amusing.

When was Apple wrong? Apple was never wrong. Apple knew this was right all along. There is no evidence of the old license. The old license never existed. It is dead now. Apple never endorsed it. It was a lie made by Apple's enemies to discredit Apple's name. Apple is good. Apple would never hurt you. Apple is your friend. Apple is magic. Apple has never backpedaled. Apple is at war with Google. Apple has never been at war with Microsoft. Why do you hate Apple? Apple only wants to help you. You are clearly disturbed. Apple wants to assure you this is not your fault. Please report to your nearest iThoughtCorrection facility. Apple is your friend. Trust in Apple. Apple is your friend.

Re:Yea (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33522480)

DO NOT TAUNT HAPPY FUN APPLE!

What other company even backpedals... (0)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 3 years ago | (#33522546)

It's refreshing to see Apple wrong so many times in a row. Watching them backpedal is amusing.

What's refreshing to see is a company that actually admits it was wrong, how often does that happen?

They were wrong to lock down the development tools so much (I said so at the time and thought they would relax things eventually simply because they had to), they realized the mistake, and have stepped back after developer pressure. That's why I prefer to work with iOS development, because they do listen to developers and take into account feedback or concerns, and really change fundamental policy instead of continuing said policy just because it exists as so many other companies would do...

All companies (and people) make mistakes. It's how (or if!) mistakes are corrected that is the thing to measure by.

Re:What other company even backpedals... (3, Insightful)

Bigjeff5 (1143585) | more than 3 years ago | (#33522838)

Are you serious?

Wow man, you are a true fanboy.

There are mistakes, and then there is an attitude that the whole world should bow to their wishes. It's only when they realize they don't have quite that much clout that Apple backs down.

A good company that did not believe customers owed their happiness to the company, developers owed their very existence to the company, would not have locked down the tools in the first place.

Apple treats its customers as though it's only because of Apple's great kindness that those customers get to use Apple products. They treat their developers like a necessary evil, and it's only by Apple's grace and mercy that developers are permitted to write code for Apple products.

That's how you get things like the ridiculous hoops needed to write apps for the App store, or the ridiculous policy of no flash when flash is ubiquitous on the internet. That's a "you get what we give you" attitude if there ever was one. The only reason Apple is backpedaling now is because they pushed it too far and received some backlash. That's it. And they are only going to change the policy far enough to reduce the backlash to an acceptable level - they are not going to change their attitude, and if they see an opportunity to lock things down again they will jump on it.

Re:What other company even backpedals... (2, Funny)

Mongoose Disciple (722373) | more than 3 years ago | (#33523098)

What's refreshing to see is a company that actually admits it was wrong, how often does that happen?

If you think Apple does so more than other companies in its industry, you are drowning in the Kool-Aid.

Obligatory Penny Arcade. [penny-arcade.com] Except probably swap from to to.

Re:Yea (1)

Qwavel (733416) | more than 3 years ago | (#33522778)

Apple rarely backpedals or admits they were wrong.

I think the FTC is to thank for this one. They are being investigated for anti-competitive actions in relation to the app store. Their problem is that anti-competitive behavior has been one of the app store's most important function.

For them, it is much better to backpedal on their own and hope to end the investigations rather then going through the humiliation that MS and Gates went through.

Re:Yea (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33522844)

Yea wrong all the way to the bank.

Google Voice (2, Insightful)

esocid (946821) | more than 3 years ago | (#33521880)

So...when will they be approving Google Voice?

Re:Google Voice (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33522098)

They won't be approving Google Voice because it "replaces or duplicates built-in functionality" (the phone already has a contact list and dialer. They didn't approve it the first time because of this. They also had some vague "privacy" concerns because the contacts are stored online with Google. None of the iReasons they cited are mitigated by the change in policy.

Re:Google Voice (2, Interesting)

SimonTheSoundMan (1012395) | more than 3 years ago | (#33522458)

Sure, so how does Skype get through. In fact, how do most apps get around points 2.11-2.13?

2.11 Apps that duplicate apps already in the App Store may be rejected, particularly if there are many of them
2.12 Apps that are not very useful or do not provide any lasting entertainment value may be rejected
2.13 Apps that are primarily marketing materials or advertisements will be rejected

I would say the vast majority of apps in the store fall under these points.

Because they don't replace contacts (3, Informative)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 3 years ago | (#33522834)

Sure, so how does Skype get through.

Because it doesn't duplicte existing functionality. There is no built in VOIP client, and it uses the Apple contacts. GV linked back to Google contacts...

In fact, how do most apps get around points 2.11-2.13?

2.11 Apps that duplicate apps already in the App Store may be rejected, particularly if there are many of them

At this point that might be a problem for some applications but there's always a new idea without many apps in the store.

2.12 Apps that are not very useful or do not provide any lasting entertainment value may be rejected

I think you might just be able to work around that by writing an app that is useful or entertaining.

2.13 Apps that are primarily marketing materials or advertisements will be rejected

To me that simply repeats point 2.12 since an application that is primarily marketing is also not useful (though I suppose it could be entertaining, and thus possibly accepted).

I would say the vast majority of apps in the store fall under these points.

Like what? Very few of the applications I have seen fall under these points, except possibly for point 2.11 - but that's the thing, the avoidance of replication is more a point going forward than it has been (though Apple has been starting to reject some applications in crowded categories).

Re:Because they don't replace contacts (1)

Just Some Guy (3352) | more than 3 years ago | (#33523054)

Toktumi's Line2 has a dialer that can originate a VOIP call or pass off the call to the iPhone's own voice system. It also has its own address book. Honestly, I don't really see the difference between Line2 and Google Voice for these purposes.

You can already run it as a web app (1)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 3 years ago | (#33522352)

Google Voice is already an iOS web app. Remember, GV is not VOIP (and there are in fact plenty of VOIP apps for iOS).

Re:You can already run it as a web app (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33522858)

I'm sorry, you must not have a smartphone, or you wouldn't make that comment. Web applications suck twice as much on a phone as they do on a PC, even when that web app is designed for the phone (like docs.google.com/m [google.com]). Google Voice on the phone does more than read messages online, it also downloads the translations and shows them as text notifications, it replaces the outbound phone number, the mailbox number, and it uses the native interface(!). I could probably add about 12 more things it does but I'm going off of memory having used it twice on the Android.

Re:You can already run it as a web app (1)

Bigjeff5 (1143585) | more than 3 years ago | (#33522866)

Google wrote an iPhone app for it, and Apple approved, then rejected it.

As you said, GV is not VOIP, so why the hell would Apple reject it?

what about writing apps *on* the device (2, Interesting)

line-bundle (235965) | more than 3 years ago | (#33521916)

Does that count as downloading?

I am looking at this in the context of scriptability.

Re:what about writing apps *on* the device (1)

daid303 (843777) | more than 3 years ago | (#33522218)

I am looking at this in the context of scriptability.

Wasn't executing interpreted code disallowed?

Re:what about writing apps *on* the device (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33522326)

Does that count as downloading?

I am looking at this in the context of scriptability.

Apple doesn't permit scriptability. They explicitly ban apps can run their own code, and anything explicitly Turing-complete is right out. This has been very disappointing for those hoping for some kind of Hypercard or LaTeX for iOS.

Re:what about writing apps *on* the device (1)

BasilBrush (643681) | more than 3 years ago | (#33522338)

"Apps that install or launch other executable code will be rejected."

  For sure you can create an app to write code on the device. (i.e. an editor) But the app mustn't actually execute that code.

More importantly (4, Informative)

BasilBrush (643681) | more than 3 years ago | (#33521918)

More importantly, developers will no longer have to second guess the reasons why apps may or may not be accepted. From the statement:

"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."

Re:More importantly (1)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 3 years ago | (#33522008)

I think this is the biggest news of all. Why they kept such things secret, I have no idea. There really was no good reason to not disclose these guidelines before.

Re:More importantly (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33522330)

It's not that they kept them secret, they were developing the guidelines on-the-fly so they didn't have any to share until now. Kinda like using your user base for beta testing.

Re:More importantly (4, Interesting)

Sarten-X (1102295) | more than 3 years ago | (#33522400)

It's to prevent/reduce the lawyer-like arguments. The moment a set of guidelines becomes public, people start trying to find loopholes. Arguments about terminology, implementation, and technicalities ensue. Then the rules get updated to account for what's been argued already, which brings in a new set of loopholes. Soon, a whole new industry springs up around just knowing the rules, and the whole process grinds to an inefficient halt.

It's much easier to keep guidelines internal, and only release very general suggestions.

Re:More importantly (2, Insightful)

Mongoose Disciple (722373) | more than 3 years ago | (#33522882)

However, simplicity/efficiency is often the enemy of fairness. It certainly was in this case.

I mean, I can drastically simplify the American legal system if we toss the laws and move to a system of laws only I know. We'll get rid of all the lawyering and costly trials, and I'll just let the secret police know who they should quietly execute.

Re:More importantly (1)

mandelbr0t (1015855) | more than 3 years ago | (#33523094)

It's much easier to keep guidelines internal, and only release very general suggestions.

Of course it's easier to do so, since less people have a say as to what the guidelines should be. However, it's not really possible to claim that it's a transparent process as a result. The lack of transparency makes people think that Apple has something to hide, especially when it has not really been clear to this point why some apps are being rejected. Allowing input from the community on what those guidelines should be would create a public image that peoples' opinions matter, and that Apple is not arbitrarily deciding which apps will be sold. This is even more important, since the app store is effectively the only way to get new applications. If Apple prevents your app from being sold, there is really no other way to market it.

On the other hand, Apple is well-known for their high-handed, prescriptive approach to technology, so the fact that no other input was considered in determining who would be allowed to profit from the iPhone platform should come as no surprise.

Re:More importantly (2, Insightful)

Bigjeff5 (1143585) | more than 3 years ago | (#33522914)

How can you change the guidelines to justify removing any app you want if everybody knows what the guidelines are?

Duh.

The only reason they are doing this now is because they've gotten too much pressure not too.

Any reasonable company would have released them from the very beginning. Most companies tell you what their criteria are for rejection specifically so you can avoid and correct any potential issues.

Re:More importantly (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33522670)

We will reject Apps for any content or behavior that we believe is over the line. What line, you ask?
Well, as a Supreme Court Justice once said, "I'll know it when I see it". And we think that you will also
know it when you cross it.

Yes, blocking a bittorrent remote control app [engadget.com] because "this category of applications is often used for the purpose of infringing third party rights" was obviously stated from reading that document.

browsers (1, Insightful)

hey (83763) | more than 3 years ago | (#33521940)

Browsers download and run code (javaScript).
What about them?

Re:browsers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33521978)

They're still not allowed, just like before.

Re:browsers (2, Informative)

wherethewoolzewasnt (1787534) | more than 3 years ago | (#33522086)

The WebKit JavaScript implementation is essentially the one exception to the downloadable code rule. I imagine that you could still be rejected for implementing core functionality in downloadable JavaScript, as that would open up a potential security hole.

Applause (2, Interesting)

Superken7 (893292) | more than 3 years ago | (#33522036)

Its good to see big companies backpedal and fix their mistakes, even more if the company is Apple/Ms/Google

Don't get me wrong, I think it made sense for *them* to ban things like Adobe CS5, but I don't think it was good for everyone involved (especially users and developers), and its great to see them do that, for whatever reason it must be.

Clarification (3, Informative)

mr100percent (57156) | more than 3 years ago | (#33522106)

Let's clarify, since the description isn't that great. Apple will now allow Adobe's Flash to export in iPhone app format

Also, Apple released their App Store Review Guidelines (PDF) [bit.ly]. Worth a read.

Re:Clarification (3, Insightful)

BasilBrush (643681) | more than 3 years ago | (#33522390)

I suggest actual developers access that list on Apple's site. It'll change quite often.

Re:Clarification (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33522490)

Yes, but the Flash apps will have to be internally complete - - no downloading executable components on startup - - and Apple can still reject them for any of the other reasons listed in the now-public App Store Approval Guidelines. Anybody want to take bets on how long it takes Apple to include an approval guideline that lets them reject apps that show unacceptably crappy performance on iOS hardware?

Re:Clarification (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33523034)

...Anybody want to take bets on how long it takes Apple to include an approval guideline that lets them reject apps that show unacceptably crappy performance on iOS hardware?

For Flash apps, it's already in there...sort of.

>>13.2 Apps that rapidly drain the device's battery or generate excessive heat will be rejected

Flash chewing up CPU cycles on mobile devices the way it does on laptops and towers would violate both conditions, so Apple could still reject apps created with Adobe's CS5 cross-platform dev tool even if they meet every other guideline; and Apple's reasoning here ("your app can't suck the battery drier than a sponge in Arizona--we're looking at you, Flash") is actually defensible, as opposed to just banning all cross-platform dev tools out of hand. It's not unreasonable for Apple to demand that apps not severely degrade hardware performance.

This puts the burden neatly and squarely back on Adobe to deliver a mobile version of Flash that doesn't kill hardware; if they can do that, great, iOS Flash apps galore. If they can't, it's their own fault and not Apple's. And both sides can point to quantitative metrics to prove their case.

My guess is that based on the current Flash-on-Android reviews, Apple thinks Adobe can't pull it off.

Re:Clarification (1)

edxwelch (600979) | more than 3 years ago | (#33522886)

That document is hilarious, especially this part:
"We have over 250,000 apps in the App Store. We don't need any more Fart apps. If your app doesn't do something useful or provide some form of lasting entertainment, it may not be accepted."
The App Store director himself has fart apps on the App Store: http://www.wired.com/gadgetlab/2010/08/apple-fart-apps/all/1 [wired.com]

Secondly, certain developers submit 100's of spam apps every day and while Apple has banned some of them, it's still happening: http://www.iphonedevsdk.com/forum/business-legal-app-store/40766-worst-app-store-offenders-graaple-hotix-studios-add-yours-here.html [iphonedevsdk.com]

Unity (4, Insightful)

Xest (935314) | more than 3 years ago | (#33522120)

This was all about Unity, which basically does exactly what Adobe's Flash packaging tool did for the most part. The Unity game tools have been used to develop some fairly popular iPhone games, and Apple knew it couldn't continue to authorise Unity based apps whilst denying apps created with Adobe's tools without falling foul of competition laws. Similarly, by kicking Unity off too they'd be throwing away from of the iPhone's most popular games.

So the question now is, does this mean if Adobe tries to release it's tools again that Apple is going to let it, or are they now going to try and find another excuse to deny Adobe access to the platform?

Apple stood to lose far more if it continued to stand by this policy, and if it stood by the policy whilst letting some apps through it also stood to face the DoJ, so it had to decide one way or the other.

Re:Unity (4, Insightful)

BasilBrush (643681) | more than 3 years ago | (#33522450)

So the question now is, does this mean if Adobe tries to release it's tools again that Apple is going to let it, or are they now going to try and find another excuse to deny Adobe access to the platform?

That's probably the reason they've released App Review Guidelines at the same time. Apple can probably deny most Flash apps based on other rules that already exist. e.g.
"Apps that rapidly drain the device's battery or generate excessive heat will be rejected." and
"Apps must comply with all terms and conditions explained in the Apple iPhone Human Interface Guidelines and the Apple iPad Human Interface Guidelines"

Flash on android (-1, Troll)

bigtrike (904535) | more than 3 years ago | (#33522472)

Apple has a lot less to fear now that Flash has proven to be a miserable failure on Android. Honestly, though, they should have just let Flash fail on its own.

Re:Flash on android (4, Insightful)

rjstanford (69735) | more than 3 years ago | (#33522700)

But most people wouldn't have blamed Flash - especially if there wasn't an easy example of a non-flash version to point to. They'd have blamed the iPhone. Most people, even most iPhone users, don't read /. or related sites - that's one of the reasons that the iPhone has been a smashing commercial success, you don't need to be a geek to use it (N70, I'm looking at you here). Keeping Flash off the platform was exactly the right business decision to make.

Even if Adobe would release a version that wasn't a battery killing unstable one - which would be a great start - the usability experience isn't close to being there for multitouch devices. And the iPhone is all about user experience.

Re:Flash on android (1)

bigtrike (904535) | more than 3 years ago | (#33523006)

I agree with you 100% as far as Safari is concerned and I'm glad that I don't need to hack my iPhone just to block flash.

However, as far as apps with a flash runtime are concerned, people will just see them as slow and broken and blame the apps. I don't think people would even use them long enough for it to interfere with the overall perception of battery life.

Re:Flash on android (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33522718)

It really hasn't been a failure in my experience, and I wonder why that meme keeps going around.

Re:Flash on android (1)

Richard_at_work (517087) | more than 3 years ago | (#33523092)

I have seen several people make this mistake - this has nothing at all to do with Flash-the-web-content-platform discussion, as in this case we are not seeing Flash hosted by the web browser at all. No, this is about Flash as a generalised development language for the iOS platform, running code natively and replacing ObjC in the development process - it allows current Flash developers to target their skills at more than just the web.

Flash-the-web-content-platform can wither and die while this use of Flash-the-language can thrive completely independently.

Kind of, but more about control of app quality (2, Insightful)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 3 years ago | (#33522706)

This was all about Unity, which basically does exactly what Adobe's Flash packaging tool did for the most part.

Actually I thought Unity was more intermediate, producing an XCode project you would compile - the flash tool produced a binary directly.

Apple knew it couldn't continue to authorise Unity based apps whilst denying apps created with Adobe's tools without falling foul of competition laws

Actually it could do that forever because there are no such laws. Anti-Trust doesn't enter into the picture in any way.

The real reason the relaxed the restrictions is, I think twofold:

1) Developer outcry - Apple does respect and listen to developers, and they were having too many people come up with too many perfectly valid edge cases (like using Mono or Scheme for development). Apple had actually pulled back on this restriction a few months earlier letting people submit things developed using alternative languages on a case by case basis, that was probably a lot of work to review.

2) Control of app quality. This I think is key - what Apple is really worried about with Flash developed apps coming out is that a ton a crappy stuff would flood the store and the review process. So what has changed? The fact that they have a stated review policy now, which says in part "we will not allow a ton of crappy small applications that do nothing". The whole limitation made no sense before because Apple benefits from having quality applications on the platform, so now its more clear that wider spectrum of development tools will not be allowed to destroy the level of quality the application pool enjoys, so someone CAN use Flash to compile an iPhone binary but they had better be producing something good. A formal app store review policy allows Apple to be more relaxed in other regards, because it keeps control over the final quality of applications.

Whats really odd is that it took this long to come up with any kind of review policy document!

Apple's Statement (5, Interesting)

amolapacificapaloma (1000830) | more than 3 years ago | (#33522136)

This is the actual statement by Apple [apple.com].

Also, I've read some rumors [gizmodo.com] about the next iLife '11 having a new program for creating iOS apps in a similar way to the Android's AppInventor [googlelabs.com]. This new statement seems a like a pointer in that direction, otherwise they would have a hard time arguing about antitrust issues on the App Store...

Re:Apple's Statement (1)

BasilBrush (643681) | more than 3 years ago | (#33522502)

I doubt it. iLife is a consumer app bundle. The last thing Apple is going to do is encourage non-developers to create half-assed apps and submit them to the app store. They have more than enough real developers developing with Cocoa-Touch.

Re:Apple's Statement (3, Interesting)

amolapacificapaloma (1000830) | more than 3 years ago | (#33522776)

All this is highly speculative, but I'd expect it to be like Automator on OS X, and the "apps" not being submitted to the store, but used but executed inside an apple made app. Easy way for power users to scratch their own itches, and a nice mousehole in the walled garden... Pure speculation though.

Re:Apple's Statement (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33522554)

rumors about the next iLife '11 having a new program for creating iOS apps

That's not a rumour, it's speculation. Are the standard developer tools not pointy-clicky useless enough to fill this market? Any sane developer ends up falling back to CMake or writing their own build system targetting the xcodebuild command line tool.

Non-Mac development (1)

frostfreek (647009) | more than 3 years ago | (#33522148)

I wonder if this means that I can develop using Eclipse CDT and an iPod Touch, rather than having to buy a Mac.

Re:Non-Mac development (1)

antifoidulus (807088) | more than 3 years ago | (#33522226)

What in the article even remotely hinted at that?

Re:Non-Mac development (1)

tonywestonuk (261622) | more than 3 years ago | (#33522398)

erm.

  From the header.."..It basically stopped the use of cross-platform compilers..."

Using eclipse on windows to code, with a cross compiler to convert the resultant Java to native Ipad code, would fall fowl of this. And now, apparently it wont.

 

Re:Non-Mac development (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33522460)

Please provide me a list of all apps made using this method so I know which ones to avoid. Thanks.

Err Maybe you want to read again (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33522266)

You can still download code if you use the tools provided by Apple.
The download limit is if you use outside tools.

Conspiracy theory (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33522306)

Oracle wants Java on the iPhone. Oracle sues Google over Java patents. Apple now lets Java on the iPhone.

MonoTouch? (1)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 3 years ago | (#33522396)

Does this mean that I can use C# to generate a Silverlight app that will run on Windows, Windows Mobile, Linux, Android and iPhone?

Can I write in Java an app that will run on every desktop and mobile?

Re:MonoTouch? (2, Insightful)

rjstanford (69735) | more than 3 years ago | (#33522738)

Does this mean that I can use C# to generate a Silverlight app that will run on Windows, Windows Mobile, Linux, Android and iPhone?

Can I write in Java an app that will run on every desktop and mobile?

Well, considering that a good app experience on a desktop (with a mouse and keyboard) is by definition very different than a good app experience on a multi-touch device, probably not, no. You might be able to share some code internals, but you could do that anyway.

Re:MonoTouch? (1)

KshGoddess (454304) | more than 3 years ago | (#33522922)

Can I write in Java an app that will run on every desktop and mobile?

only if you distribute it with your own developer-locked-in version of java. (I have fond memories of java version 2.something.{our lead developer's name} for the software written for one version of solaris on specific hardware with specific os patches.)

Qt for the iPad? (1)

RogueWarrior65 (678876) | more than 3 years ago | (#33522488)

Hopefully that means you can write apps in Qt and hopefully they will be cross-platform with Android so developers don't have an excuse to marginalize one platform.

Flash, java, interpreted languages (2, Interesting)

codepunk (167897) | more than 3 years ago | (#33522660)

What I would like to see apple do is to add performance to it's application review process. Say for instance you app does not boot to a stable runnable state in 10 seconds it gets disapproved. Same goes for memory usage and and processor load. That would solve the whole "user experience" goal that they claim to have. Of course it would keep most of the interpreted apps, flash, java etc off of the phone but I have no problem with that. On one hand I would like to have to option to use interpreted languages on the device on the other hand I know that for performance reasons it is not the way to go.

Javascript (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33522750)

Funny. Javascript is code. Browsers that download and run Javascript should be banned.

Meaningless (3, Insightful)

Andy Smith (55346) | more than 3 years ago | (#33522758)

Apple seem terribly random and unpredictable. It would be senseless for any developer to begin work on a project that has become permitted by this clause, because tomorrow the terms could change again.

I'm an Android developer, releasing my first game in the next 4-6 weeks. Then I need to consider whether or not to produce an iPhone version. The decision will only slightly be based on forecasted sales, market share of competing products, and demand for my product. For the most part I will need to decide if I can afford to invest the time developing for a platform that may, at any point, "ban" my product for some obscure reason. (For example, all of my graphics are produced in 3D Studio and rendered as 2D sprites. Suppose Apple takes a dislike to Autodesk...?)

Re:Meaningless (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33523108)

Yeah, that's a completely rational fear. The chance of the sky falling for iOS and Android are about the same. Get over it.

Too Little, Too Late (0, Troll)

sdguero (1112795) | more than 3 years ago | (#33522944)

Its the Apple IIe all over again. The company got cocky, started abusing their market domination with laziness, and now they are in deep sh*t.

After wrestling with itunes and the restrictive nature of the iOS, users are getting more advanced and realizing that the iPhone isn't the only answer out there. Because Apple alienated the dev community, the nerds are telling everyone to go Android. If I had Apple stock, I would sell and do it quickly.

Re:Too Little, Too Late (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33523042)

I bet that the most vocal Apple critics here are those that keep buying Macs, iPhones, iPads, iPods and iWhatevers. If you don't like'em why do you buy them.

what's code? (1)

omidaladini (940882) | more than 3 years ago | (#33522964)

as long as "the resulting apps do not download any code".

What's considered code? Anything that you interpret/execute as commands that conform to a specific grammar/language? So is HTML code now? How can one define "code" that HTML, for example, would be excluded?

confused (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33523078)

Doesn't Apple have to release an SDK to the public for this to mean anything??

Load More Comments
Slashdot Account

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>
Sign up for Slashdot Newsletters
Create a Slashdot Account

Loading...