Many of my hacker friends believe (and with substantial evidence) that developers have a tremendous influence on what technologies get adapted. Just look at recent exits by Heroku and SpringSource. For a long time, Apple’s marketing was based on the slogan “There’s an app for that”. Yet the quiet story has been that developing apps for Apple has been getting more and more difficult (interesting that the slogan also disappeared from ads a while ago).
Recently, Apple published a set of App Store Review guidelines and it is remarkable how much more restrictive they are than Android’s. Here are some of my favorites (and my take below):
- 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. We have lots of serious developers who don't want their quality Apps to be surrounded by amateur hour.
- Let the customer decide. Many successes in the start-up community started as an imperfect app
- 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". And we think that you will also know it when you cross it.
- If your app is rejected, we have a Review Board that you can appeal to. If you run to the press and trash us, it never helps
- Apps that duplicate apps already in the App Store may be rejected, particularly if there are many of them, such as fart, burp, flashlight, and Kama Sutra apps.
There are 4400 mouse traps patents out there. And while no one is saying that we need 4400 mousetraps, this one on the left looks a heck of a lot different than the one below.
- Apps that unlock or enable additional features or functionality with mechanisms other than the App Store will be rejected
- Apps utilizing a system other than the In App Purchase API (IAP) to purchase content, functionality, or services in an app will be rejected
- What does that mean? Well, besides the obvious it also means that many companies will find it difficult to monetize recurring revenue services through Apple.
There are also additional requirements (not explicitly included in the guide) circulating through the community and they are also quite concerning:
- Don’t use Apple gestures (like pinch to zoom in)
- No external links – including knowledge bases, company website, support links or anything else (this rule is new and has living contradictions in the app store).
- No duplication of core device functionality like browser, podcast app etc - this rule also has living contradictions in the app store.
What else? The point is that hackers have been the drivers of cool in the connected world. Cool is kewl. Cool sells.
Apple became Apple because Apple became cool. So please stay cool.