Apple Developer Agreement changes: The App Review Board

Earlier this week, Apple announced some changes to their Developer Agreement. The changes included lifting the ban on applications that are created using Translation apps, like Adobe’s app that would have brought flash to the iPhone. One change that Apple has made that should put all iOS developers at ease is the addition of an App Review Board for appeals.

You may be asking, why should a review board put iOS developers at ease? Well, it’s quite simple. A review board means that you actually have an appeal process if your app gets rejected. If you wholeheartedly feel that your app was wrongly rejected, you can now appeal the decision. This can be a positive thing for apps, like Google Voice, which have been in limbo or were outright rejected.


The process for appealing a rejection is quite simple.

  1. Login to the iOS Developer Center.
  2. Click on the AppStore link on the right sidebar.
  3. Click on Approval Process link.
  4. Click on App Review Board on the left hand side.

However, beyond entering some standard information about the app, we don’t yet know much about how the whole process will work.

Despite the good that can come from the App Review Board, I do foresee some potential issues. There are a myriad of reasons why an application can be rejected. The first and most likely is violation of the Human Interface Guidelines. These ‘guidelines’ are actually more of a set of rules. If you do not adhere to these, your app will be rejected. One example from these guidelines is that having more than one pop-over on the screen at a time is not allowed. If this occurs, then the app will be rejected.

Another example is related to the name of the app. You cannot use any Apple trademarks within the name. For instance, exampleAppNameiPhone, cannot be used due to the inclusion of ‘iPhone.’  You are allowed to use exampleAppName – iPhone Edition, because it is indicating to the potential downloader which platform it will run on. The use of iPhone, iPad, or iPod in the name of your app could potentially misconstrue an endorsement by Apple, where there is no endorsement.

The thing I’m most fearful of is that the App Review Board’s time will be spent dealing with developers who are just complaining because they do not wish to fix the issues with their apps or do not fully agree with the rules just on a personal basis and believe as though they should be exempt from the rules. What they should be spending their time on instead are applications like Netshare, Google Voice, or even the WiFi-syncing, which probably have more legitimate beefs.

Photo Credit: Apple’s developer site

I'm into everything technology related, particularly anything Apple related. I enjoy programming and tend to lean towards server-based technologies over client-based. You can contact me on twitter, via e-mail, or follow me on friendfeed.