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Apple's Developer Tools Turnaround 'Great News' For Adobe 234

Posted by Soulskill
from the line-must-be-drawn-he-ah dept.
cgriffin21 writes "Apple is being praised for loosening of some of the restrictions in its Application Developer Program license agreement that open the door for app developers to work in Flash for the Apple iPhone, iPad and other devices. And no one is happier about the change than Flash-maker Adobe itself. They wrote, 'This is great news for developers and we're hearing from our developer community that Packager apps are already being approved for the App Store. We do want to point out that Apple's restriction on Flash content running in the browser on iOS devices remains in place.'" Apple also received praise from Google over their reversal, which may have been prompted by an FTC probe. Reader Stoubalou adds that Apple shed more light on the app review process by publishing a list of guidelines (PDF) the violation of which may get an app rejected from the App Store.
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Apple's Developer Tools Turnaround 'Great News' For Adobe

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  • Praise? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by 0xdeadbeef (28836)

    Isn't that like praising a fundamentalist preacher for stopping his book burning?

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by zill (1690130)
      One incites imminent lawless action, which precludes it from being considered constitutionally protected speech.

      The other one forces all developers to learn Objective-C, which is arguably cruel and unusual punishment.
      • Re:Praise? (Score:4, Insightful)

        by imthesponge (621107) on Friday September 10, 2010 @12:02PM (#33535504)

        Of course that's not true about the book burning.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Ukab the Great (87152)

        Both involve an element of ridiculous, almost comical hypocrisy.

        In one case where the some people who view burning a book as an outrage view anti-semitism and restricting churches from being built is socially acceptable, and in the other case where Cocoa developers are forced for 10 years to learn .NET, Java, PHP to make a living in the enterprise and then enterprise .NET/Java/PHP developers scream bloody murder when they're forced to learn Objective-C to write iPhone apps.

  • They were an early casualty that had to redo their first issue magazine app because of Apple. In the end it was an underwhelming 500MB kludge, and I doubt they recouped the costs that they must have put into that.

    http://www.downloadsquad.com/2010/05/27/adobe-rewrites-wired-magazine-ipad-app-without-flash-gets-it-ap/ [downloadsquad.com]

  • Eerie (Score:2, Insightful)

    by danmart1 (1839394)
    This is eerily similar to Microsoft being praised for Windows 7 after pushing Vista. Sure the situation is completely different, but praising a company for finally listening to consumers is the wrong way to go about it.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by dotwhynot (938895)

      This is eerily similar to Microsoft being praised for Windows 7 after pushing Vista. Sure the situation is completely different, but praising a company for finally listening to consumers is the wrong way to go about it.

      You could argue that they didn't listen to consumers, or developers, but did it because they were under investigation for anti-competitive behavior [cnet.com] on this, both in US and EU. A conviction on this would be tough on the image, even for Apple.

    • Re:Eerie (Score:5, Insightful)

      by BlueStraggler (765543) on Friday September 10, 2010 @02:19PM (#33537542)

      What's eerie is that Apple does this with every single thing they have ever launched since time immemorial, and slashgeeks still love to think that Apple is evil, prone to making huge gaffes, and then quietly making good once they realize their colossal blunder. The "no wireless, less space than a nomad, lame" mindset is so effing retarded it's now an Internet meme, and we *still* don't get that the joke is on us. Not Taco. Us.

      This is what Apple does: (1) strip every half-baked feature/freedom out of a new product until it is boiled down to its most basic essence. (2) Release it. (3) Start adding the features/freedoms back in one at a time once they are fully baked. (4) Profit! (Notice the lack of a ...? step.) They do this. Every. Single. Time. iPod storage. iTunes on Windows. Virtually everything in OS X. Webkit. Macbooks and minis. iTunes DRM. iPhone cut and paste. iPhone devkits. iOS multitasking. Every single time the geekosphere gnashes its teeth and bemoans that Apple is pushing bullshit that is missing X, Y, and Z. And then Apple does X, Y, and Z, and the geekosphere congratulates itself for doing Apple's product development for them.

      If we believed our own propaganda (and it is apparent that many of us do), Apple is the world's most incompetent company that barely survives thanks to nerd rage steering them back on track on a more or less continuous basis. But Occam's Razor suggests that a more likely explanation is merely that Apple polishes the consumer experience first, and the nerd experience second. I guess that angers us.

      • by WNight (23683)

        No, that's not it. I don't care if Apple "gets" it. It's that I object to them being called "developer friendly" when they clearly aren't - to selected developers and some random ones. It does a disservice to companies who really are developer friendly for Apple to just claim it like a trademark.

        I mind them saying they're open source friendly when they mean they're extremely not open-source friendly but have merely stopped forbidding applications with open source.

        They sell themselves as the people's device,

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by pkphilip (6861)

        You make it seem like this was a carefully crafted strategy from Apple. But that is simply not the case.

        It just so happened that Steve Jobs thought that everyone would be happy to play in his walled garden while he collected tax. However, with Android coming out with flash..and considering the speed at which android phones are selling, he figured that the best thing to do would be to eat his pride and his words and fix those features that are missing.

        Apple was wrong to have placed all those restrictions on

  • by bsDaemon (87307) on Friday September 10, 2010 @11:27AM (#33535054)

    I think this is the first time I've heard "flash support" and "good news" in the same sentence. My, how the times they are a changin'.

    • by nine-times (778537) <nine.times@gmail.com> on Friday September 10, 2010 @12:09PM (#33535592) Homepage

      It will only last until people stop thinking that lack of Flash support is an effective talking point for criticizing Apple. Then everyone will go back to hating Flash.

      • by shutdown -p now (807394) on Friday September 10, 2010 @12:46PM (#33536136) Journal

        Please do not conflate the question of Flash sucking hard, and the question of freedom of choice. One can hate Flash with a passion, but still believe that one should have the choice to enjoy that suckiness in full.

        • Yeah, that's not what I'm talking about. I'm talking about how everyone was pretty well in agreement that Flash sucks until Apple said they wouldn't allow it on iOS. Then suddenly it's like, "How could they do that?! Flash is awesome and efficient and never crashes and is an integral part of the web! It's a perfect little diamond of the application and is everything computer applications and frameworks should be!"

          If it stops being a talking point against Apple, then most likely people will go back to a

          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            I'm talking about how everyone was pretty well in agreement that Flash sucks until Apple said they wouldn't allow it on iOS. Then suddenly it's like, "How could they do that?! Flash is awesome and efficient and never crashes and is an integral part of the web! It's a perfect little diamond of the application and is everything computer applications and frameworks should be!"

            I'm not sure where you've got this line from, because it certainly wasn't that way on Slashdot. In pretty much every Flash-on-iOS discussion I've seen here, vast majority of arguments in favor of Flash started with "Flash sucks, but ...". A few people (myself included) then pointed out that a Flash application for something is preferable to no application. Others focused on the freedom of choice angle. Some on portability. But, come to think of it, I don't recall any post that would actually praise Flash fo

      • by WNight (23683) on Friday September 10, 2010 @03:07PM (#33538248) Homepage

        Nope. I've always hated Flash, both because of its instability and its co-opting of standards.

        But I still didn't want Apple to just ban it outright. I want to market to out-compete it. If Flash drains the battery, add battery-consumption tests to app approval and don't let in anything that does, Flash or not.

  • Does anyone remember when "big blue" was the bad locked down company? And then, later, it was Microsoft (their former competitor)? And now it seems to be apple who has these crazy rules in place?

    Maybe in the world of tech companies, there always has to be one to pull this kind of shit.

  • WiFi (Score:4, Interesting)

    by NetNed (955141) on Friday September 10, 2010 @11:32AM (#33535140)
    Nice that they post the rejection guidelines, but when will they actually follow them? The WiFi finders that disappeared is one. If Apple thinks that is own wifi locating software in iOS is enough to trump all the quality apps that were out there then that means they could do the same for any app even if the app performs better then the so called existing app. The wifi finders found 10x the networks that the network finder in iOS finds, yet this was enough to have apple take the stupid action of eliminating all wifi finders. An example is Wifi-fo-fum which will find 10 networks, tell you the mac, mode, security protocol channel, rssi and rates as opposed to apple's that tell you subnet and ip, with rssi only given in the form of the signal graphic that is about useless when trying to trouble shot signal strength on a wifi network and what might be affecting it.
    • by NetNed (955141)
      Oh and I meant to put in that apple iOS network finder will find 2 to Wifi-fo-fums ten, even when Wifi-fo-fum will let you connect to a network that doesn't show on the weak iOS network finder
    • Re:WiFi (Score:5, Informative)

      by tylersoze (789256) on Friday September 10, 2010 @11:47AM (#33535322)

      The WiFi API is private that's why those types of apps were rejected. Believe me I know, we had a game based on finding WiFi hotspots we wanted to port from the DS, but didn't because we knew it wouldn't be approved for use of private API's.

      Private API rejections are one of the rejections that actually makes sense. In those cases, you need to argue for Apple to make the particular API public rather than for them accept apps that use private API's that the company has no obligation to maintain compatibility for, so could change at any time, breaking your application.

      • If your app is what I think it is, port to Android please ;D I found that game hard, but fun because of the hotspot detection.
      • Re:WiFi (Score:4, Interesting)

        by Dynedain (141758) <slashdot2.anthonymclin@com> on Friday September 10, 2010 @01:20PM (#33536692) Homepage

        Wasn't private API calls from Office to Windows a big part of what got into trouble w/ anti-trust regulations?

        • by cowscows (103644)

          Even if that was the case (I honestly have no idea), why would the various factors of anti-trust actions have to do with the iPhone?

          • by Bigjeff5 (1143585)

            You don't need to be a monopoly to have an anti-trust issue. You generally don't get much attention on them until you are close to monopoly level though. Apple and the iPhone/iPad (and really all software platforms) is a bit of an exception - nowhere near a monopoly as most people see it, but there is a monopoly on the platform, and that platform is popular enough to draw attention.

            The reason private api calls between Office and Windows was anti-competitive is because such calls are unavailable to third p

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Trolan (42526)

      They're still verboten by the new rules:

      2.5 Apps that use non-public APIs will be rejected

      The wireless framework is a non-public API under iOS.

  • by Petersko (564140) on Friday September 10, 2010 @11:33AM (#33535146)
    After reading the pdf "App Store Review Guidelines" I'm of two minds.

    First, damn that's a long list of rejection reasons.

    Second, the subset of that list that is neither reasonable nor obvious is very short. There are only a couple that I would say are stupid, and they revolve around censorship (i.e. adult themes).

    In the end, would I try to write an app that violated any of those rules? Probably not. One could argue that I might want to... and that's true. But if I want to do that, there's an Android market just over thataway. It's a walled garden, but there's a door right there.
  • Coincidental? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Revotron (1115029) on Friday September 10, 2010 @11:35AM (#33535174)

    I just recently got full and official Flash support on my Motorola Droid with Android 2.2. It seems oddly coincidental to me that as soon as Android has solid Flash support, Apple decides it's time to open the floodgates and be best buddies with Adobe.

    What the fuck? Sure, it's natural that Apple would do that because they want to stay competitive with the Android segment of the market, but Apple was supposed to be the leader and "innovator", not the follower.

    • by Cogneato (600584)

      Wait, "solid Flash support"? From all I have read, it is anything but solid. "Spotty, buggy, resource-hog" seems to be what is being said, even by people that aren't fans of Apple.

      • I didn't read reviews, but I have it on my N1, and while not lightning-fast, it's fast enough to not be annoying. I haven't actually used it enough to find out if it's a battery hog or not.

      • Re:Coincidental? (Score:4, Interesting)

        by Skuld-Chan (302449) on Friday September 10, 2010 @01:06PM (#33536434)

        Read the marketplace comments for Flash - there's plenty of praise for it. While its not perfect - it does work, and it allows you to see a full website where there were holes before.

        On my nexus one - battery life actually got better with 2.2 and Flash installed so I don't think its really a resource hog any more than any other app.

    • Re:Coincidental? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by _xeno_ (155264) on Friday September 10, 2010 @12:33PM (#33535928) Homepage Journal

      I'm pretty sure this is coincidental. I'm fairly sure that Apple still wants Adobe to, well, fuck off, but that they hit too many apps as collateral damage with their policies that were designed to prevent Flash-based apps from being ported to the iPhone.

      So they've relaxed the rules a bit, which happens to allow auto-ported Flash apps. But Flash still isn't supported in Mobile Safari and there's no sign that this will change.

      Plus, this means that they've reopened the door for auto-ported apps from Android, so maybe this is a shot at Android, but not in the way you think.

      Bottom line is that the flood gates are still firmly closed, they've just opened a sluice gate which allows some Flash to trickle through.

    • Actually Apple made their point and now are getting kudos for returning to the original situation, Flash out but Flash compiled to compliant native code back in. Not bad if you ask me.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Kilrah_il (1692978)

      I just recently got my ingrown toenail taken care of. It seems oddly coincidental to me that as soon as my ingrown nail is fixed, Apple decides it's time to open the floodgates and be best buddies with me. I guess they know that now that I don't have to worry about my aching toe, I am ready to hound them to death if they don't open up the floodgates. Ha ha! Cowards...

  • by Sabalon (1684) on Friday September 10, 2010 @11:36AM (#33535180)

    I guess you still have to pay $99/yr for appstore developer ability, or $299/yr for corporate development.

    But what about people that just want to do the coding for themselves or fun? I don't want to distribute my app. Why can't I register one device that I can load my code onto for free without paying either of these?

    I have a Mac, iPhone and XCode. Why can't I compile my code and move it onto my device without paying (or jailbreaking).

    Seems that would be a nice way to get some more developers in.

    • by TrancePhreak (576593) on Friday September 10, 2010 @12:04PM (#33535528)
      Apple doesn't allow that because then you could distribute your code to everyone and get around the app store.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Late Adopter (1492849)
      Because then Apple can't keep malware off the iPhone. A $99 payment is a pretty good barrier to stop people from following instructions on the internet to get a Bonzai Buddy app, etc, to work. Unfortunately that stops the good code with the bad, but $99 is cheap enough for most developers but the most part-time hobbyists, like yourself.
      • Apparently you have underestimated the value of malware. $99 is a drop in the bucket compared to the amount of money they could make from it.
        • My argument is that requiring a developer cert keeps malware off victims' phones by preventing them from loading arbitrary code.

          Unless you're arguing that coaxing a user to load malware is worth $99/victim?
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by vijayiyer (728590)

      Seriously, $99 isn't much money. Even if you value your time at minimum wage, the amount of money it will take you to actually write software that does something for you will rapidly exceed $99. And, as you said yourself, they're giving you XCode for free without strings attached.
      In any profession, tools that generate revenue cost money. In the world of software, it happens to be incredibly cheap. If you were a mechanic, a single ratchet would cost $99.

    • But what about people that just want to do the coding for themselves or fun? I don't want to distribute my app. Why can't I register one device that I can load my code onto for free without paying either of these?

      I have a Mac, iPhone and XCode. Why can't I compile my code and move it onto my device without paying (or jailbreaking).

      If you aren't paying Apple to develop for their platform, they don't really care about your ability to develop for their platform.

      Google has a different philosophy and business mo

  • Publicity 101 (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Brannoncyll (894648)
    Publicity 101 for leveraging a strong market position:

    1) Impose unnecessary and draconian restrictions
    2) Lots of anger in community; blog postings / news articles result (read: publicity)
    3) Remove unnecessary and draconian restrictions
    4) Lots of praise in community; blog postings / news articles result (read: more publicity)
    5) ....
    6) Profits!
  • context (Score:5, Funny)

    by RockGrumbler (1795608) on Friday September 10, 2010 @11:38AM (#33535216) Homepage
    <badnews>GOOD NEWS EVERYONE! Flash can now port applications to the iphone!</badnews>
  • ick (Score:2, Insightful)

    by jecowa (1152159)
    I don't want flash-based apps on my iOS device. They are slower and use more batteries than non-flash-based equivalent apps.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by stephanruby (542433)

      I don't want flash-based apps on my iOS device. They are slower and use more batteries than non-flash-based equivalent apps.

      How would you know?? Did you actually load flash-based apps on your iDevice?? And what about Unity-based games? Unity has a plugin that generates Objective C code (just like the new Flash builder tool used to do before it got banned). Can you even tell the difference when a 3D/2D game was made with the Unity game engine, or when it was not?

  • by rsborg (111459) on Friday September 10, 2010 @11:55AM (#33535410) Homepage
    Apple must feel secure enough in it's ecosystem or have felt enough pressure from regulators to make the change, it does seem uncharacteristic of the typical fortress-like mentality bred by previous incursions.

    I think it will be good for everyone involved that the rules are clearer and more app creation tools exist, as long as the approval process is both stringent and non-abusive.

    Also glad that Flash applets are not allowed... those are 90% advertisements, and for those useful non-ad content, I'm happy using my desktop to view them.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by gad_zuki! (70830)

      >Also glad that Flash applets are not allowed...

      On Android you can set flash to run only when request, just like flashblock on Firefox. So, in other words, you don't need your phone provider to refuse to give you access to flash objects. You can simply not activate them. The difference between the iphone and my EVO is that I can watch embedded video that's not supported natively. They can't. Neither of us is viewing flash ads. Choice is good, not bad.

      • by CharlyFoxtrot (1607527) on Friday September 10, 2010 @12:31PM (#33535882)

        Choice is good, not bad.

        If I needed Flash I wouldn't have bought an iPhone. Choice made.

      • I believe, as research has shown [telegraph.co.uk], that too much choice can actually be a bad thing. In terms of things like software platforms, too much choice can not only be bad, but destructive to progress (i.e., think of competing packaging tools on various linux distros or maybe virus protection software on windows). The lack of a single or small set of clear choices prevents network effects from taking place, and introduces disarray that can be exploited by the malicious or incompetent.

        There are extremes, and a hap

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Late Adopter (1492849)
        I think the idea is that Apple is using their market muscle to make Flash less necessary in the first place. If you had to opt-out of flash usage, you might find it more difficult since site makers would have no reason whatsoever to cater to you.

        I don't have an iPhone nor do I want one, but I'm thrilled at the potential effect for iPhones to have on the Flash-heavy web.
    • How about this for a conjecture.

      WP7 is going to be released by the end of the year, and Silverlight is a primary development platform for that. As a language and platform, it's noticeably higher-level than Obj-C, so the learning curve is less steep there, and tooling can be made better. It's also really good at doing bling with a few mouse clicks (or a few lines of XML, whichever you fancy).

      And guess what? All of the above are something that Flash is also good at, or better (e.g. tools). Purely coincidental

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by DragonWriter (970822)

      Apple must feel secure enough in it's ecosystem or have felt enough pressure from regulators to make the change

      Why are those the only two options? Couldn't the threat from competitors have been an issue? Android is gaining ground rapidly, and the greater freedom developers face on that platform combined with its rapidly expanding reach makes developing apps for Android more and more attractive a choice of where to put resources compared to iOS development.

  • I saw that with libimobiledevice, it's possible to control your iOS device with your Ubuntu desktop, including doing things like installing apps: https://help.ubuntu.com/community/PortableDevices/iPhone [ubuntu.com]

    What I'm wondering is, would it now be possible to develop apps for the iPhone from your GNU/Linux desktop, using a free software stack? What I have in mind is something like this: you write the application in C (a strict subset of Objective C), compile it using GCC (targeting ARM architecture?), using hea

  • by StikyPad (445176) on Friday September 10, 2010 @12:32PM (#33535904) Homepage

    So lets see.. first there was "Edge is fine.. 3G is overkill," then "WE HAVE 3G!!" Then it was "nobody needs tethering," "Stop the presses: WE HAVE TETHERING*!!!! (*except in the US)", then "Multitasking is ridonkulous," "Oh, one more thing... WE HAVE MULTITASKING!!!"

    And now Flash.

    Steve Jobs is such a visionary.

  • Now we get our native Google Voice app, right? Right?

    Oh, this just overturns one previous bad rule, not all of them.

  • Ingenious (Score:2, Interesting)

    by ryan.onsrc (1321531)

    I actually think supporting the addition of Flash in apps but, now this is key: continuing to not support Flash in Safari -- is actually rather ingenious of Apple.

    First off, Apple was smart to ban Flash from App Store apps, initially. This has allowed Apple to build the thriving eco-system of apps, using their native graphics APIs, that exists today. Now, they have lifted said ban, one might be concerned that this means that suddenly a bunch of slow flash-based apps are going to dominate. But, here is th

  • I have a couple points that seem to be lost in this thread. First, this isn't the "Flash" that you know and hate. This is apps written in ActionScript 3 that are compiled into native iOS apps. They aren't necessarily going to be straddled with the same issues the community often complains about.

    Second, there is one important aspect of this that no one seems to pay attention to. Adobe's Flash Packager for IPhone and MonoTouch are the only way for someone to develop IPhone software without buying a Apple

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