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Apple to allow Flash on the iPhone, ban fart apps?

Apple has made some big changes to its App Store policies, relaxing restrictions on the tools developers can use to create iOS apps, and revealing guidelines about why apps are rejected.

Apple has made some big changes to its App Store policies, relaxing restrictions on the tools developers can use to create iOS apps, and revealing guidelines about why apps are rejected.

In a statement, Apple said it had relaxed its development-tool restrictions as a result of developer feedback. It added that any apps developed in light of the new rules still shouldn't be able to download any code.

This is a significant and sudden move on Apple's part. Some commentators are saying it could even pave the way for Flash to run on iPhones and iPads, although we have our doubts.

In the past, Steve Jobs has been adamant that he doesn't want Flash running on his babies. In an open letter written back in April, he stated: 'We know from painful experience that letting a third-party layer of software come between the platform and the developer ultimately results in sub-standard apps and hinders the enhancement and progress of the platform.'

For the first time, Apple has also published the App Store review guidelines, with the intention of becoming more transparent. 

Apple still isn't going to allow apps that criticise religion, or apps that contain certain other kinds of content, including pornography. The guidelines also state that Apple doesn't 'need any more fart apps', which may mean an outright ban. That would be ironic considering that the company's director of app technology has a history of making them. Apple also stated: 'If your app doesn't do something useful or provide some form of lasting entertainment, it may not be accepted.'

Apple wrote that developers may also have their apps rejected if they are considered 'amateurish efforts' or contain 'content that we believe is over the line'. The guidelines also contain an explicit warning against attempting to submit porn apps -- anything that's 'intended to stimulate erotic rather than aesthetic or emotional feelings' won't be allowed. And don't bother trying to make an app, like Chatroulette, that might allow for user-generated nudity.

Why has Apple made this move? PCWorld suggests that it's all about Android, which is gaining market share. Apple may be seeking to stop developers defecting to Android by making it easier for them to understand the app-submissions process, which has previously proved frustrating for some.

What are your theories on why Apple has made these changes? As usual, we'd like to hear your thoughts in the comments section below.