In another surprise move today Apple has published what it calls a “living document” which attempts to clarify the current App Store Approval guidelines.
The document is available for all registered developers to read and is written in a chatty human friendly way. The majority of the guidelines are common sense, and most developers should really find that they probably knew these rules already. But is nice to have them clarified.
In essence : Apps need to be bug free, not crash, porn is not allowed, scams are not allowed and so on and so forth. And Apple are very aware that a lot of kids use the App Store, and they aim to protect them. Pointing out that often parental controls are not enabled on devices unless the kids parents do so. So Apple will be going the extra mile to police things its end. Fair enough.
There are some slightly open guidelines where Apple state that they may reject an app even if they consider there are simply too many apps of that kind in the App Store. This is a little too open to abuse, or misinterpretation by overzealous App Store Gnomes, in my opinion. But hopefully Apple will apply these rules reasonably, or review them moving forward. It would be hell to be the last guy in line with a new iPhone 4 LED Flashlight app and be rejected for that reason alone!
The following guideline we found particularly ironic, give the recent news we reported on of Apple’s head App Store Gnome (Mr. Shoemaker) having his own apps in the App Store which are all about questionable bodily functions..
“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.”
Shoemaker undoubtedly had a hand in writing this document. I wonder if he is imaginative enough to see the irony in that clause. I do hope so, for all developers sakes.
Overall the document is friendly and also provides a good baseline so that developers starting a new project can at least steer clear of some of the major App Store “No No”s forearmed with this clear info.
The guidelines are subject to change though, as Apple makes clear with its “living document” explanation.
Ultimately if a developer is not happy with an App Store rejection Apple suggest that they don’t “run to the press” and mouth off. But rather, they suggest appeal to the App Store Review Board. Means for appealing are provided as a portal for developers on Apple’s Developer web site.
Is this face of a new Apple App Store? Or just more PR? Have your say in the comments…