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Friday, December 11, 2009, 05:40 am PT (08:40 am ET)

iPhone developer says Apple taking more lenient approach with apps

Despite a spotted violation of Apple's rules for developers, one iPhone application was approved for released on the App Store with a warning to fix the issue in a future update.

Developer Vimov, creators of iSimulate, said Apple approved the latest update to their application for developers, even though it uses a private API, which is against the company's terms. The application allows developers to use the iPhone's multi-touch and accelerometer capabilities within the iPhone simulator software on a Mac.

The developer said Apple acknowledged the issue, and provided a warning, with the following e-mail:

    Thank you for submitting your update to iSimulate to the App Store. During our review of your application we found it is using a private API, which is in violation of the iPhone Developer Program License Agreement section 3.3.1; "3.3.1 Applications may only use Documented APIs in the manner prescribed by Apple and must not use or call any private APIs." While your application has not been rejected, it would be appropriate to resolve this issue in your next update.

    The non-public API that is included in your application is UITouch._touchFlags.

    Please resolve this issue in your next update to iSimulate.

On the company's blog, the developer praised Apple for its approach. The iPhone maker was within its rights to reject the software and force Vimov to resubmit its application for the approval process. Instead, the developer said it will address the issue in its next update, and its application can remain up for sale.

As Apple's App Store has swelled to more than 100,000 applications and been embraced with more than 2 billion downloads, some developers have criticized the company's hands-on approach which requires software to be reviewed and approved before it can be made for sale. Some developers have claimed that Apple's process is not transparent enough, and there have been reports of applications neither approved or rejected for some time.

The most high-profile application in limbo is Google Voice, which Apple said it has not approved, but has not outright rejected either. Google disputes that claim.

Apple made a step towards transparency in September when it expanded its Resource Center for developers The private page details how the approval process works and provides tutorials. The company then went a step further in November, when it added a feature that allows developers to view the approval status of submitted applications.