As summarized here, Apple just updated their App Store’s terms and guidelines. Although they still leave lots of room for interpretation and cut themselves plenty of slack, the announcement brings a breath of fresh air with it. Already the third party Google Voice app is being prepped for submission, Adobe is resuming work on the Flash to iPhone conversion tool, and AdMob is breathing a sigh of relief. It’s definitely a step in the right direction and strategic. As Apple commands more mind share and exerts a disproportionate amount of influence on the smart phone market, it becomes more important for Apple to be seen as fair to keep regulators off their back.
Despite Apple’s growing prominence, as other platforms such as Android collectively catch up, their market position will become less impenetrable. While it will be very hard if not impossible to match Apple’s polish with the iOS, once the Android interface and usability reach a certain point it will become “good enough” for average consumers just like Windows continues to dominate in the desktop operating system. Right now the main competitive advantage of the Apple mobile platform is the seamless experience you get as a consumer, stable and consistent APIs (and degree of backward compatibility) across the iOS devices not to mention excellent documentation (official and unofficial) for developers, and attractive revenue streams for businesses. So much of the success in this market is built on ensuring users and other businesses participating in the App Store and keeping it vibrant that it’s a smart move to iron out all the issues and concerns expressed by communities before other platforms catch up.