Friday, April 09, 2010

iPhone Dev Agreement Change Could Squash Some Development Efforts

Apple's made some quiet changes to its developer agreement for the iPhone OS, and it may quash some development currently being done for the iPhone. While it seemingly targets Adobe's effort at creating stand-alone Flash applications for the iPhone, it could also have ramifications for those trying to use cross-compilers to target multiple smartphone platforms in one project.

The new Section 3.3.1 reads as follows:
3.3.1 — Applications may only use Documented APIs in the manner prescribed by Apple and must not use or call any private APIs. Applications must be originally written in Objective-C, C, C++, or JavaScript as executed by the iPhone OS WebKit engine, and only code written in C, C++, and Objective-C may compile and directly link against the Documented APIs (e.g., Applications that link to Documented APIs through an intermediary translation or compatibility layer or tool are prohibited).
Formerly, that section only said:
3.3.1 — Applications may only use Documented APIs in the manner prescribed by Apple and must not use or call any private APIs.
Thoughts are that the change to the agreement was specifically put into place to eliminate Adobe's Flash app idea, in which developers could release a standalone Flash app as the iPhone (and iPad) does not have Flash support (and will never, according to Apple). Flash is ubiquitous on desktop and laptop PCs.

Some believe that the restriction may not be enforceable. It's also possible the issue might end up in court. In fact, that might be a good thing. While this seems overly draconian, so is that App Store approval process, and a court decision could rein in that part of the App Store.

Of course, there's always the chance the decision might go the other way ...




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