Critiques of Apple’s new iOS developer rules flew fast and furious after they were released yesterday, with some applauding the moves and others questioning various policies. But at least one developer that just went public with a new app this week is glad to see clearer guidelines for the App Store.
Scott Lahman, CEO of GOGII, whose latest app went public at midnight Thursday, says the concessions for Flash in the iOS developer program license agreement weren’t what caught his attention. Rather, it was the changes to the store review process that more clearly spell out what Apple won’t accept.
A little background on Lahman might provide some perspective. One of the founders of mobile game company Jamdat, he has experience is in the video game space, where companies like Sony and Nintendo would give out a checklist – like 100 pages long – for developers, and if you didn’t follow them, you could expect your submission to fail. For video games, the criteria are clear; there’s a certain way a game needs to allow the user to “go back,” for example, and that ultimately makes it easier for users.
Before getting its latest app published in Apple’s store, GOGII’s textPlus 4 Pics submission actually failed on a few things, in part because it had a couple UI issues, including a popover on a popover, which Lahman concedes was “just bad UI design.” The company made the necessary changes, but knowing the guidelines up front will help in the future – and save time on the part of developers and Apple.
“It’s really hard to succeed in a certification process that’s not completely transparent because you don’t know the rules. You don’t necessarily know it’s against the rules until you fail,” he says. Now, “I think our chance of failing will be much lower” and the chances of bringing apps to market in a week or less are a lot better.
GOGII’s textPlus 4 Pics Edition allows users to set up groups and exchange photos in real time of things of interest to them – like dog lovers or a local cheerleading squad, with options for public or private groups. So what’s to stop people from abusing with the app with objectionable photos? Apple is notorious for its restrictions on porn, and its App Store review guidelines kick off with this: “We have lots of kids downloading lots of apps, and parental controls don’t work unless the parents set them up (many don’t). So know that we’re keeping an eye out for the kids.”
GOGII is backed by venture capital firms Matrix Partners and Kleiner Perkins Caulfield & Byers’ iFund, which is exclusively focused on developing applications for Apple’s products, but GOGII also has a textPlus app on the Android Market.