GCN LAB IMPRESSIONS

Apple changes its tune on third-party app tools

Public guidelines will likely lead to better iPhone, iPad apps, but you still won't be able to view Flash

Apple has decided to drop its rather strict restrictions on the tools developers are allowed to use when making apps for the iPhone and iPad. In addition, the company is, for the first time, making its App Store Review Guidelines public. The first is a complete 180-degree turn on the company's policy that was instituted this past April. The second is, well, simply unprecedented.

While there was no mention of Adobe in this release, stock market investors clearly think this can only mean good things for the people that bring us Flash. Look at that thing go!

Now let’s proactively clear up possible misconceptions about this news. No, Flash will not be made available as an iOS plug-in or anything like that, so Flash content will remain un-viewable on iPhones and iPads. But, developers of apps for the App Store can use nearly any tools they want (such as Flash) to make their programs, and then compile them with the Apple Packager, whose demise rumors weren’t rumors at all until the Sept. 9 announcement.

More importantly, at least in my opinion, the app review process is now transparent, which will save countless hours as compared to before, when a developer usually only knew that their app wasn’t up to snuff only once it was officially rejected.

This probably kept many developers out of the market because they didn’t want to waste all that time and money making an awesome app that might get rejected for a reason they hadn’t been aware of. But now, look out, because I predict a vast influx of apps with longer development times, which might make a significant percentage of apps in the App Store actually useful for something other than fleeting, momentary entertainment.

While we in the Lab are totally surprised by this reversal, I can definitely say we all agree that this is a good thing.

About the Author

Greg Crowe is a former GCN staff writer who covered mobile technology.

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