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Why Apple should relax its App Store rules

Marco Tabini | Dec. 5, 2013
Apple's ecosystem has been successful, in part, by adapting its rules to the evolving needs of its users--but the pace of change has slowed, and problems are starting to pile up again.

This approach may be no more than a nuisance when it's part of Cupertino's ongoing fight with other tech giants like Amazon and Google. But it becomes a big problem when it limits what users can do with their devices, as in the case of a time-sensitive notification system that stops working because the users forgot to renew their subscriptions manually.

Time for some change
I'm not suggesting that Apple do away with its App Store rules and welcome apps willy-nilly into the iOS ecosystem. Besides being a very unlikely proposition, it doesn't seem desirable. I like the App Store, and I like the fact that there is a barrier to entry to it.

On the other hand, I think that it's time for Apple to figure out how to relieve some of the most pressing pain points that developers keep encountering. As a user, I'm much happier if developers can focus on building better features instead of having to reinvent the wheel for features like synchronization and inter-app communication. And as a developer, I'd much rather not waste my time on things like building my own user management or payment system, or be forced to offer an inferior experience to my users because of the fickle policies that Apple decides to enforce.

This problem is becoming more significant because iOS is becoming more important to its users&mdash:and they, in turn, are developing more-sophisticated needs and demands. Apple's decision to publish its rulebook was a great step toward increased transparency; it's now time to take additional steps to benefit users who want to depend on iOS as a primary working environment.


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