In case you haven't been following along too much at home, we'll give you the quick recap: The Apple App Store submission and review process has been, historically, something of a total mess. There's been very little consistency in Apple's standards and plenty of app developers (including game developers!) have found themselves on the wrong side of Apple's approval process. But the Big A is looking to change all that. In a public statement
, the company says it's looking to "relax some restrictions [it] put in place earlier this year."
What kind of restrictions? "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," the statement reads. "This should give developers the flexibility they want, while preserving the security we need." If you don't speak Giant Corporation, let us translate: Developers will be able to use third-party tools like Adobe's Flash CS5 to create iPhone apps. Adobe, surely having thought this was a battle it had already lost, was pleased with Apple's announcement, telling All Things Digital
, "We are encouraged to see Apple lifting its restrictions on its licensing terms, giving developers the freedom to choose what tools they use to develop applications for Apple devices."
While Apple may be relaxing those restrictions, it's also going one step further and publishing its "App Store Review Guidelines to help developers understand how we review submitted apps." This new found desire for transparency has already given us an amazing amount of insight into the app review process. For example, did you know Apple has a policy on fart apps? Did you know it was this direct? "We have over 250,000 apps in the App Store. We don't need any more Fart apps." If you insist, Apple!
Check out Engadget for some more great pulls from the Review Guidelines PDF (or snag a copy for your Kindle at the source link below). With the iOS platform becoming an increasingly important (not to mention vibrant!) marketplace for indie games, we're thrilled to see Apple make some difficult, though necessary, steps towards opening up its walled garden. Now we can see if there's a policy against us making a Tower Defense game called Apple's Walled Garden
, where you strategically place reviewer-shaped turrets to keep unwelcome apps out.