Apple has caused a lot of confusion for iPhone app developers by banning them from creating apps using any compiler not created by Apple, but then approving apps that break this rule – even going so far as to promote them in the App Store. Finally it looks like Apple has seen the light (and presumably the benefits) and announced that it has relaxed restrictions on its iOS developer license, opening the doors to native Flash and AdMob applications – as long as the resulting apps do not download any code.
After the announcement Adobe released a statement of its own saying the company would now resume development work on the Packager for iPhone feature for future releases of its Flash Professional CS5 authoring tool after it was forced to discontinue development of it in April. In an added bonus for Adobe, the company’s shares were up in early trading on Wall Street following the Apple announcement.
Google was also understandably happy with this development with Google’s vice president of product management, Omar Hamoui writing, “this is great news for everyone in the mobile community, as we believe that a competitive environment is the best way to drive innovation and growth in mobile advertising.”
“The new terms provide immediate clarification about the status of mobile advertising on the iPhone and will benefit users, developers, and advertisers. Users will benefit from more free, or low cost, apps that can now more readily be supported by advertising. Developers will be able to choose from a variety of competitive advertising options and pick the solution that works best for them, to boost their revenues. Advertisers will have access to simple and effective advertising solutions that can reach users across a wide range of devices,” Hamoui added.
At that stage it must have become clear to Apple that to attract the kind of games that people want to see from the developers they love it was going to have to embrace the cross-platform development tools that these games are built with. After all, could you imagine if Sony or Microsoft told developers they couldn’t use cross-platform development tools on the PS3 or Xbox 360?
The increasing popularity of the far more open Android platform may have given Apple food for thought as well. Although the number of apps in the Android Marketplace still pales in comparison to the number of apps in Apple’s App Store, the development of Android apps is accelerating quickly and the number of Android apps is expected to overtake iOS apps in the next four or five years.
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