Apple has relaxed its guidelines for its app developers in an attempt to stay ahead in the increasingly competitive smartphone market.
The company said it is making changes to its iOS Developer Program licence, based on feedback from app developers who said the conditions were too restrictive.
In particular, it is relaxing all restrictions on the development tools used to create iOS apps, so long as the resulting apps do not download any code.
“This should give developers the flexibility they want, while preserving the security we need,” Apple said in a statement.
In addition, the company is now publishing App Store review guidelines to help developers understand how it reviews submitted apps.
“We hope it will make us more transparent and help our developers create even more successful apps for the App Store,” added Apple.
The move is an important step towards transparency for Apple, which is currently facing stiff competition from Google’s open source Android operating system, according to Carolina Milanesi, principal analyst at Gartner.
The analyst’s recent research predicts that Android will become the second most popular mobile operating system in 2010 and will challenge Nokia’s Symbian operating system for the number one spot by 2014.
While Symbian is currently the clear leader in the mobile phone market – owing to Nokia's volume and the price, which appeals to the mass market – Gartner expects manufacturers such as Samsung to launch many new budget Android devices in the second half of 2010 that will drive Android into the mainstream.
“Apple’s announcement is important in terms of some of the concerns that the developers had over transparency – that is something they have been complaining about for a while. I think that Apple has recognised that and is trying to stay ahead of the game in the app world,” said Milanesi.
She added that developers are now working on apps for Android and for Microsoft’s new mobile operating system due to be launched at the end of 2010.
“Apple is trying to get developers back because the level of competition is growing and Apple wants to continue to be the first option for developers,” she said.