Apple's new app regime to boost mobile ads

13 September 2010

CUPERTINO: Apple has relaxed some of the restrictions previously imposed on the App Store, in a move that could stimulate a surge in mobile advertising.

In a statement, the company revealed more than 250,000 applications have been downloaded 6.5bn times to date, generating revenues of $1bn (€786m; £651m) for developers.

However, Apple has received criticism relating to the tight limitations placed on the programming employed in apps, alongside a lack of transparency about which offerings it ultimately approved.

"We are relaxing all restrictions on the development tools used to create iOS apps, as long as the resulting apps do not download any code," the organisation said.

"This should give developers the flexibility they want, while preserving the security we need."

Moreover, the maker of the iPad and iPhone published the first App Store Review Guidelines, in an effort to improve understanding regarding how it assesses submissions.

These criteria included anticipating the interests of parents, and exerting quality control to avoid "amateur hour".

"We have over 250,000 apps in the App Store. We don't need any more Fart apps," the Guidelines stated.

"If your app doesn't do something useful or provide some form of lasting entertainment, it may not be accepted."

One motivation behind Apple's change in policy is thought to be rising competition from gadgets using Google's Android operating system, shipments of which climbed 886% during Q2 2010, per Canalys.

"Apple is concerned enough about the shifting tide towards Android that it feels it has to loosen restrictions to keep developers on its side," said Jeffrey Hammond, an analyst at Forrester.

Hammond argued such a "pre-emptive strike" constituted a response to the fact other app outlets generate higher returns for developers.

"Google has done a better job at levelling the playing field for independent developers, and that matters," he asserted.

"I don't think Apple can tolerate that, especially with the dozen or more pads that we're going to see hit the market in eight to nine weeks."

Another issue with Apple's goods is they do not support Adobe Flash, and while this still applies to the mobile web, applications based on this system should run correctly.

"Apple's announcement today ... is great news for developers and we're hearing from our developer community that Packager apps are already being approved for the App Store," Adobe said.

Apple's new guideline also enable developers to insert advertising from third parties in apps, after existing procedures apparently suggested only clients using its iAd service could be incorporated.

This clears the way for AdMob, the mobile network owned by Google, which is currently the largest player in the sector.

"We believe that a competitive environment is the best way to drive innovation and growth in mobile advertising," said Omar Hamoui, previously of AdMob and now vp, product management, at Google.

"Mobile advertising has already helped to fund tens of thousands of mobile apps across many different platforms and devices, and it will help do the same for many more in the years ahead."

Data sourced from Financial Times/New York Times; additional content by Warc staff