The iPhone App Store has been ridiculed quite a bit in the past over their draconian as well as inconsistent approval policies.
These policies of Apple claimed another victim today when Joe Hewitt, the brain behind Facebook's iPhone app announced that he was quitting the project.
In a message sent over Twitter, Joe wrote:
"Time for me to try something new. I’ve handed the Facebook iPhone app off to another engineer, and I’m onto a new project".
When approached by the folks at TechCrunch, Joe revealed that the decision was entirely due to Apple's App Store policies. In his chat with TechCrunch, Joe said
"My decision to stop iPhone development has had everything to do with Apple’s policies. I respect their right to manage their platform however they want, however I am philosophically opposed to the existence of their review process. I am very concerned that they are setting a horrible precedent for other software platforms, and soon gatekeepers will start infesting the lives of every software developer"
Apple's App Store policies have had very few fans and a disproportionately large number of critics. This has largely been because the company has been inconsistent in its decisions to approve and reject applications. As Joe Hewitt notes, as a software developer, he would rather have his product judged by the users rather than by a middleman.
While we have always stood against Apple's app approval procedures, we also need to think how much open can the app store become. This is especially in the light of recent news stories about iPhone apps that have compromised user information and while these have majorly been through security loopholes, in the absence of an approval process, such exploits can only become more rampant.
The need of the hour is then to arrive at a middle path where Apple lays down their approval policies in a clear and unambiguous manner which increases the transparency of the approval procedures.
In light of Joe Hewitt's decision to oppose the app approval process, what suggestions do you have in improving the app approval procedures? Please tell your opinion in the comments.