Apple Reforms App Approval as Facebook Developer Vows "Never Again"

Just a day after being publicly excoriated by an influential developer, Apple has introduced new tweaks to its App Store approval process to make it more friendly to submissions.

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Joe Hewitt, developer of Facebook for iPhone and an in-house Facebook employee, has vowed never to develop for iPhone again. Widely considered the most popular app in the iTunes Store, Facebook for iPhone set benchmarks for UI and interaction design on the phone.

"My decision to stop iPhone development has had everything to do with Apple's policies," he told TechCrunch. "I respect their right to manage their platform however they want, however I am philosophically opposed to the existence of their review process. I am very concerned that they are setting a horrible precedent for other software platforms, and soon gatekeepers will start infesting the lives of every software developer."

Hewitt, who has a background in Web development and also worked on the Netscape and Mozilla Firefox projects, is a strong advocate for open source software. Much of his backend work for the Facebook app he made available publicly under the open source title of Three20.

Meanwhile, Apple was busy rolling out notifications for developers that will tell them how far along in the review process their apps have gotten. Apple's often-draconian reviews have been characterized by long wait times, indiscriminate rejections, major slip-ups and the occasional baby-shaker scandal.

Microsoft also rolled out its own app store this week as a part of its Windows Marketplace site.