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John Wang just sent me the new App Store Review Guidelines published by Apple. I nearly choked on my coffee when I read through these gems:
Excerpt from the intro: 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".
Translation: If you don't comply with our undocumented arbitrary decency rules, you will be rejected. For example, people wearing swimsuits are gross unless they are in Sports Illustrated, in which case they are wholesomely attractive. More of a "hey, she is nice", but not the kind of "HEY BABY" that would get you in trouble with your spouse. You know what we mean. Other things we find obscene include top hats, dachshunds and bald French Canadians. These things are unacceptable. If you combine any two of these in an app we will kick you out of the program.
3.1 Apps with metadata that mentions the name of any other mobile platform will be rejected.
Jealous girlfriend equivalent: "If you ever mention another woman, even in passing, I will spit in your eye and break up with you."
4.3 Apps cannot use Push Notifications to send advertising, promotions, or direct marketing of any kind.
There are thousands of very useful apps that do this for people who have opted in to hear about promotions and deals that are of interest to them. Why can't I write an app that lets people who like a particular store get a push notification about a sale? I was convinced this was the craziest new rule until I read:
11.3 Apps using IAP to purchase physical goods or goods and services used outside of the
application will be rejected.
Why would you prevent people from utilizing easy-to-use built-in eCommerce functionality for mCommerce apps? Often physical items are combined with digital assets. What is wrong with this? Are they worried about tax issues? They could specify that the vendor is responsible for this in the TOS. There are undoubtedly thousands (tens of thousands?) of apps that will be killed if this is enforced.
12.3 Apps containing "rental" content or services that expire after a limited time will be rejected.
Arbitrary. Weird. This will also kill thousands of useful apps already in the store.

...and finally:
23.5 iPhone developers must never program the iPhone while naked or in a bathing suit.
OK, I made up 23.5, but it seems to fit nicely with the other rules, no? Apple, will you consider providing explanations for these rules or are they more like religious commandments?

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Comment by Daniel Leuck on November 1, 2010 at 5:17pm
:-) Thank you for catching the mistake.
Comment by Kevin Luttrell on November 1, 2010 at 11:13am
Just poking a little spelling mistake fun...no need to go all Apple on me.
Comment by Kevin Luttrell on November 1, 2010 at 11:12am
Next time I'm booking a bathing suite to build an app I'll remember that Apple wants me in a single room.
Comment by Daniel Leuck on October 7, 2010 at 9:44am
@Ryan LOL. Your response made my morning.
Comment by Ryan Hiroaki Tsukamoto on October 7, 2010 at 9:15am
I sure hope you made up 23.5. I program for iOS naked all the time. Seriously! Also, Apple once rejected an app because our company's logo (then a pug) was arguably pooping, the turd forming the dot of our URL. Apparently the infinitely wise beards at Apple deemed such depiction of a mildly hilarious everyday occurrence "pornographic". Seriously!
Comment by Daniel Leuck on October 3, 2010 at 10:48am
Brian: Apple may still be the best game in town for developers, but users have already moved on. The recent figures from Canalys show Android ahead of iOS. Their figures do exclude ipod touch & ipad - which really is part of the story for why apple is still a hot marketplace.
While Android handset sales (number of units) have exceeded iPhone, app sales are nowhere close and Apple is making more than all the Android folks combined. That equates to more money available to invest in the platform.

It may be a different picture in 3-5 years, but for now, iOS is still far and away the most attractive platform for developers looking to make money.
Comment by Brian on September 17, 2010 at 2:28pm
I would have concerns over the risk that they would later "flip" the rules.
Comment by Daniel Leuck on September 15, 2010 at 7:23pm
That's true Nathan. You can now develop apps with CS5. This is a positive development. Apple's original response to Adobe's efforts was extreme and, in my opinion, deleterious to innovation in the developer tool space.
Comment by Nathan Wallace on September 15, 2010 at 6:25pm
I can't program in the pool? Seriously? :-)

Well, I have to agree with you that some of the rules they enforce are, well, kind of outrageous. But, we've all seen that before from Apple.

It isn't all bad news, though. Apparently, Apple is now accepting submissions of apps made with programs other than Xcode. Does this mean Flash is back?

http://blogs.unity3d.com/2010/09/10/unity-and-ios/
Comment by Brian on September 10, 2010 at 10:37pm
Apple may still be the best game in town for developers, but users have already moved on. The recent figures from Canalys show Android ahead of iOS. Their figures do exclude ipod touch & ipad - which really is part of the story for why apple is still a hot marketplace.

Really the issue is as you allude to - enforcement. Apple has shown they are very inconsistent/uneven (read: unfair) in how they apply the rules.

Anyway, I think it's important to remember that if you purchase physical goods used INSIDE the application - then you're fine ;)

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