September 10, 2010

Yesterday, Apple debuted new review guidelines for iPhone and iPad applications. These App Store reviews have been a mixed blessing for developers of mobile banking applications — on the one hand, the review process takes time and some developers have been frustrated at being rejected for violation of an Apple rule; on the other, the App Store hasn't been filled with fake banking apps the way the Android Marketplace has.

The intro to the new guidelines stresses that the App Store (which by the way has gotten 6.5 billion downloads) is not for amateurs. "If your app looks like it was cobbled together in a few days, or you're trying to get your first practice app into the store to impress your friends, please brace yourself for rejection," the document says. "We have lots of serious developers who don't want their quality apps to be surrounded by amateur hour." Later, it says, "If it sounds like we're control freaks, well, maybe it's because we're so committed to our users and making sure they have a quality experience with our products."

The biggest change to the guidelines is that Apple is "relaxing all restrictions on the development tools used to create iOS apps, as long as the resulting apps do not download any code." This opens the door for developers to use non-Apple authoring tools, such as a Flash CS5 iPhone OS packager Adobe's been working on. Adobe announced yesterday it will resume work on the platform and said, "This is great news for developers and we’re hearing from our developer community that Packager apps are already being approved for the App Store." However, the company pointed out that Apple’s restriction on Flash content running in the browser on iOS devices remains in place.

Apps that Apple says it will reject include those that crash, contain bugs, don't perform as advertised by the developer or contain undocumented or hidden features inconsistent with the app description. Apps considered too similar to an existing app will get the boot. Apps cannot be larger than 20 megabytes in size. You can read the entire list of no-nos here.