Apple blesses the use of Flash / Unity on iOS

Today Apple announced a change to the App Store developer terms of service (TOS) to officially approve the use of third party development environments when publishing to the App Store. This notably sensitive subject began stirring up serious worry back in June.

As noted by John of Daring Fireball on June 8th, Apple modified their terms of service to include a very worrying section. It stated:

“Applications must be originally written in Objective-C, C, C++, or JavaScript as executed by the iPhone OS WebKit engine, and only code written in C, C++, and Objective-C may compile and directly link against the Documented APIs (e.g., Applications that link to Documented APIs through an intermediary translation or compatibility layer or tool are prohibited).”

After a massive uproar from the iPhone development community and game development community, Steve Jobs publicly responded to an email by stating:

“We’ve been there before, and intermediate layers between the platform and the developer ultimately produces sub-standard apps and hinders the progress of the platform.”

At that time, knowing Apple’s stance on the subject, thousands of small (and large) businesses were in major jeopardy, having put trust in Apple’s development platform before the proverbial rug was pulled out from under them. Users of Unity3D, a cross-platform game development engine, expressed outrage, compiling a list of top App Store games and apps that violate section 3.3.1 of Apple’s TOS, attempting to show what a huge mistake it would be to ban such a lauded tool. The futures of developers using tools such as Unity3D (MONO), MonoTouch (MONO), Corona SDK (LUA), Flash (ActionScript), MIT’s Scratch (Scratch), and GameSalad (?) were ‘uncertain’ at best.

On September 9th (today) Apple backpedaled and released a press release basically amounting to ‘Whoops! We’re sorry!’ and dropping the whole argument regarding compatibility layers. Apple might not realize the impact of this decision, thinking this is a minor concession to make some users happy, but it is my feeling that this choice has extended the viability of the iOS platform by a massive amount.  Users aren’t quite leaving Apple in droves to move to Android as some have been predicting. I bet Adobe is glad they didn’t cut their iOS packager from CS5!

3 Comments

  1. […] can be heard from the Monotouch Community which uses Mono in a manner similar to Unity, to our own Unity community member Alex Schwartz to the Corona SDK and Flash Platform Communities. Yep. Collective sigh of relief. I personally am […]

  2. i need to know which laptop is most suitable for unity 3d pro n dont tell me mac cuz mac is the worst laptop when it comes to game designing…u can try argue with tha if u want but just know tha im not sayin it sucks…
    oh n it would b helpful if u told me how much it costs

  3. the amount of games out there for android is decent but it could be a lot better. honestly, i play a lot of flash based games mainly because its free using the kongregate app but there really isn’t that much variety when compared to iOS. It’s like everyone is stuck maing TD games and they forgot how to innovate!