updated 10:40 am EST, Fri December 11, 2009
Apple offers temporary amnesty for private API
Apple may be adopting a more tolerant approach to flaws in submitted iPhone apps, one developer's experience suggests. Vimov notes that it recently submitted an update for iSimulate, an app which makes multi-touch and accelerometer commands possible within the Mac iPhone simulator. Despite the fact that the update makes a call to a private API, Apple has temporarily approved it, only asking that the next update remove the offending code.
"While your application has not been rejected, it would be appropriate to resolve this issue in your next update," an e-mail from the company explains.
Apple has been known for a strict if inconsistent approach to its approval process, blocking any app which could potentially violate submission rules. It has also adopted an automatic screening tool, mainly used to catch code such as private APIs. At least one developer has complained that the screening can be too thorough however, flagging an app for references to APIs which are not actually implemented.
It is not certain why Apple would relax its approach to APIs. The company could simply be looking to alleviate the approval queue, which is growing along with the popularity of the iPhone and the iPod touch. It may also be interested in currying more favor with developers, which have complained about having to wait weeks or months to submit fixes, or launch their first sales.