The Standards defined by Apple for an App to be accepted and remain in the App Store are changing again on May 1st.
According to various tech blogs including Engadget 3 Acceptance Criteria are set to change and not just new submissions but for existing apps too.
Acceptance Criteria Update
- Apps cannot access UDID any longer. Apps and their servers will have to use Vendor or Advertising Identifiers instead.
- Apps must be built to support Retina display devices.
- iPhone Apps must be built to support the 4 inch (larger) display on the iPhone5.
Fragmentation: Zero Tolerance
Whilst the issue of Retina and iPhone5 add one or two more devices to the mix Apple are squaring off to ensure no nasty fragmentation issues ever crop up.
One has to assume that iPhone6 will have some other substantial hardware differences too. Apple cannot rely on their brand maintaining high sales simply by releasing a bigger/smaller screen.
If so then the precedent set here will continue and App developers should anticipate a similar zero tolerance cutoff date for apps to be compelled to support iPhone6 too.
The smarter, more proactive developers will ensure they are compliant earlier rather than later.
App Lifecycle Ramifications
If you are a sole developer, Startup or big Software House invested in App development then this has some ramifications for you: -
- Your team are going to have to have access to all the devices you support Retina and earlier, iPhone and iPad to ensure your App detects the device type and renders the app accordingly.
- First and foremost your QA are going to need to bring their A Game and ensure comprehensive test coverage for these changes.
Your QA are going to need access to these devices ASAP to ensure that these new criteria are incorporated into their testcases and are fully tested:
The basic testcases are simple:
- Retina devices: UI elements and text should display visibly and where touch enables should be large enough to be easily and distinctly touched.
- Retina devices: graphics that may be part of the app e.g. images of items for sale on e-commerce apps should render at the correct size.
- Non-Retina: conversely UI / graphics should render proportionate to display resolution i.e. not hard coded for Retina and thus oversized.
- As for replacing UDID well this is a ticking clock. If you snoozed and missed this one you weren’t paying attention in class were you.
- All said and done the cost of developing your App just increased substantially.
The Warptest POV
If Bloomberg’s Business Week article is to be believed then Apple may be facing a drop in profits and as a result no one in Apple sales will shed a tear if this change in App Acceptance criteria force increased device sales to App Developers and Testers.
Whilst I’m not cynical enough to believe this was raison d’etre behind this move, I have to ask,
How is this going to affect the face of the App Store?
Are we going to see multiple Apps thrown out by Apple where the Developer cannot afford to support these changes?
Is this going to drive some Apps away from the App Store and to Android, Windows Phone or Blackberry 10?
What do you think?