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iPhone SDK Agreement - Not So Much With the Real Time GPS?

Well now, we told you that TomTom is bringing full-on, real GPS driving to the iPhone, but apparently they're going to be the exception that makes the rule. Engadget has dug into the developer agreement for the iPhone SDK and came across this little nugget related to what developers can and cannot do with the Location services:

Applications may not be designed or marketed for real time route guidance; automatic or autonomous control of vehicles or aircraft, or other mechanical devices; dispatch or fleet management; or emergency or life-saving purposes.

...While we're (reticently) on board with the requirement that you can't make an app that will drive your car for you, the rest seems pretty egregious. No control of 'mechanical devices?' Sounds like that sweet iPhone-driven Lego Robot is verboten. No 'fleet management?' Sorry UPS, no iPhone for you. The big one, of course, is no 'route guidance.' Pish posh, we say, TomTom said they're coming and we're guessing they weren't lying. We have previously said here we were slightly worried that Apple would be overly-stringent about what apps they would let into the App Store -- here's to hoping that rules like these don't get strictly enforced.

Dieter Bohn

Dieter Bohn is former editor-in-chief of Smartphone Experts, writing across iMore, Windows Phone Central, Android Central, and more. You can find him on Twitter (and everywhere else) @backlon.

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There are 4 comments. Add yours.

Rene Ritchie says:

Apple's legal department is just right of the Empire. Deny now, allow later is probably the mandate. Remember when the ULA for Safari for Windows said it could only be run on a Mac?
My guess is the iPhone SDK ULA will pretty much forbid anything, just in case there's a scenario Apple couldn't initially envision that would later leave them liable/actionable due to 3rd party misuse.
So, if Tom Tom is for realz, than it shows exceptions (special dispensations) will be made, likely on a case-by-case basis.
Though, being overly controlling may just mean that when chaos theory outs, and something does go wrong, they're even more liable for missing it...

burnsaa says:

Urgh ... Apple is seeming a little to big brothery to me here. So I guess that means that the pwnage guys are the ones doing the hammer throw into apple now.
Well I guess this means that the gps makers can start using a toilet now and can clean out their pants.

Sam M says:

That disclaimer is taken word for word from the Google Maps API.

Tom says:

To piggy back on what Sam M said.
I am pretty sure the disclaimer just means that 3rd party devs can't make a turn-by-turn guidance app that uses Google Maps as the mapping program. I think they are trying to say that you need to design it from the ground up, maps and guidance all in one.
I could be wrong though and only time will tell. With the popularity and rising use of cellphones as turn by turn GPS devices though, I can't see this being true to what it sounds like.