Apple loosens restrictions on iPhone apps, ads


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In a rare nod toward digital openness, Apple Inc. on Thursday loosened rules about the types of applications and advertisements that can run on its iPhone family of mobile products.

Earlier this year, Apple had effectively choked off a range of applications that were originally created for other devices -- the PC or Android-based phones, for instance -- forcing developers to adopt specific Apple-approved programming methods.


That didn’t sit well with many programmers, who generally like to win the largest audiences they can by getting their games and apps on a range of different devices.

That restriction was widely seen as an attack on Adobe Systems Inc., an Apple competitor whose Flash software tools are widely used by programmers. Adobe and Apple have feuded over Adobe’s Flash video player -- the most popular video player on the Web -- because Apple has banned it from the iPhone and iPad.

Thursday’s change in policy should allow Adobe programmers to automatically translate their programs to work on the iPhone – as long as their apps are approved by Apple’s gatekeepers. The Flash video player, however, will still be prohibited.

By easing a separate rule about mobile advertising, Apple also removed some doubt about whether it would restrict competitors like Google from placing ads on Apple devices. Some reports had suggested that the Federal Communications Commission was looking into whether that restriction was anticompetitive.

Apple, which now has 250,000 apps in its App Store, also released plain language rules about the types of apps it would accept -- and reject. That included warnings about adult-themed apps, those making involving certain kinds of bathroom humor, and anything that it called ‘amateur hour.’
‘If your App looks like it was cobbled together in a few days,’ the company wrote, ‘or you’re trying to get your first practice App into the store to impress your friends, please brace yourself for rejection.’

-- David Sarno