Apple’s Developer U-Turn Signals Android Pressure


Will Apple’s decision to relax its restrictions on developer tools be enough, when the more open Android platform is fast on Apple’s heels, asks Darryl K. Taft

However, with Apple relaxing that restriction, developers are free to use the tools they want as long as the apps built do not download any code, the company said.

In a research note on the Apple news, Jefferies & Company wrote: “Can Flash now run on iPhones? No. AAPL specifically mentioned that restrictions continue for applications that require any third-party downloaded code. Thus, runtimes, such as Adobe’s Flash and Microsoft’s Silverlight, continue to remain restricted on iPhones and iPads.”

Android pressure

Moreover, Jefferies said Apple’s reversal in stance may signal it is feeling pressure from the Google Android platform, which is open for developers.

“Apple’s lifting of restrictions on developer tools used to create apps for iPhones/iPads is a modest positive for ADBE [Adobe], although the incremental impact to CS5 [Adobe Creative Suite 5] adoption is likely small,” the Jefferies note said. “The bigger question is whether this change in stance is a precursor to ultimately allowing Flash on AAPL devices.”

In an April 20 blog post, Adobe product manager Mike Chambers said:

“Essentially, this has the effect of restricting applications built with a number of technologies, including Unity, Titanium, MonoTouch, and Flash CS5. While it appears that Apple may selectively enforce the terms, it is our belief that Apple will enforce those terms as they apply to content created with Flash CS5. Developers should be prepared for Apple to remove existing content and applications (100+ on the store today) created with Flash CS5 from the iTunes store.”

However, Jeff Haynie, CEO of Appcelerator, which makes the Titanium platform for building mobile applications, said Apple has issued a positive clarification to its terms of service that relaxes its restrictions on the development tools used to create iOS apps. Appcelerator believes this move provides a strong endorsement for developer innovation, reinforces Apple’s long-term platform advantage and benefits consumers as the ultimate arbiters of quality in the App Store, Haynie said.

“We’re incredibly pleased with this morning’s announcement, and we look forward to the innovation that Appcelerator Titanium developers will continue to bring to the Apple App Store,” Haynie said.


This morning’s announcement removes any remaining concerns regarding app approval, Haynie added.

Mike Sax, an iPhone app developer and founder of, told eWEEK: “It’s great news. I think it’s important to keep in mind that Apple has been blazing the path in making software as risk-free and accessible as media (music, video, etc). This is the best thing that has happened to software in a long time. If you’re blazing the path, you will run into obstacles along the way. Apple is the first one to run into them, and clear them. The road may be bumpy, but ultimately Apple does what it takes to let iPhone users enjoy media and software in the most enjoyable way possible. That’s good for users, developers and for Apple.”

Todd Williams, vice president of technology at Genuitec, which makes the Eclipse-based MobiOne mobile Web development platform, said: “While we understand Apple’s need to ensure security, we applaud the removal of their programming restrictions. Even though Genuitec’s MobiOne product was not affected by the prior policy, enabling ISVs to build a wide variety of tools to support iOS, while providing developers freedom of technology choice, will only serve to expand the popularity of iOS as an application platform.”

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