Apple Shakes Up Third Parties

appleadmob1Apple is shaking things up with developers. The issue most concerning for marketers is the damage Apple’s new policy may present for third party libraries, especially the one used in AdMob enabled apps.

At the root of the issue is a new application review policy Apple just implemented: All applications need to be compatible with their 3.0 beta firmware, rumored to be released in June. For many apps, this is all and good – the 3.0 firmware was designed to support the apps developed for the current system. However, there are a few exceptions.

The most notable exceptions are third party static libraries. These aren’t like a library where one would check out a book – they are pre-built sections of programming code that developers of other apps can build into new projects. The most notable example is AdMob, who created a library to allow app developers to enable their apps to display ads served by AdMob’s network. The library makes it extremely easy to enable ads, and allowed AdMob to grow to over a billion impressions a month. The thing is, these libraries use features outside the scope of Apple’s measures for backwards-compatibility. As a result, they aren’t compatible with the 3.0 software.

Why not just update the libraries? AdMob is working on that, but even if they have the libraries ready to be released, Apple’s 3.0 NDA is still in effect, which prevents them from distributing the libraries until the NDA ceases. Yes, this is kind of dumb. But what this means is that from now until the NDA ends, any apps using AdMob’s library will likely need to remove this functionality should they need to update or add new features.

Hopefully in the future Apple will figure out a better way to manage transitions between major OS revisions, and provide better support for third party libraries. Until then, some people are grumbling, and rightfully so.