Is The End of iPhone App Store Rejections Coming?

The iPhone app rejections for content-related reasons may soon be a thing of the past, thanks to new Web-app technologies that let iPhone developers work around the official app store.
There’s been a bit of a debate and discussion in the iPhone developer community, led in part by developundit John Gruber, about “Web apps” versus “native apps” on the iPhone. Up until recently, in my mind, Web apps were hideously inferior to even the most pathetic native app, largely because of their inability to store data locally on the phone and function when AT&T’s notoriously-unstable network decides to take a holiday. Gruber has more esoteric, but important concerns about user interface.
But recently, developers have (re?) discovered some major ways around the App Store’s policies, thanks to Web technologies.
•A few weeks ago, some enterprising pornographers blew through the App Store’s prohibition on pr0n by launching the Sex App Shop, which uses HTML5-like technology to create native apps that reside on your device, but use Safari as a code interpreter. The same technology had been used previously for a magic-tricks app, but porn tends to catch people’s attention.
•Finally, and this is probably most important, Gruber is promoting an Apple API called PastryKit, which appears to give more and better UI control to Web app developers than we’ve seen before.
To some extent, this is why we gave a Technical Excellence Award to Palm’s WebOS – like Palm, Apple seems to be finally merging the worlds of “Web app” and “local app” in innovative and useful ways.
Obviously, native code is still better for a lot of things, such as games. But these somewhat-new Web technologies seem like a great alternative for folks frustrated by the App Store’s content-based rules. Are we going to see more iPhone developers going the Web route to create “virtual” native apps from here on out?


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