Screen shot 2010-02-05 at 8.32.17 AM

Apple's iPhone Developer News feed has posted a note saying developers should enhance their App Store apps with Core Location... but not if they just want to use it to serve up location-based ads. Of course, this has set off yet another round of conspiracy theories and Apple accusations. Here's what Apple had to say:

The Core Location framework allows you to build applications which know where your users are and can deliver information based on their location, such as local weather, nearby restaurants, ATMs, and other location-based information.

If you build your application with features based on a user's location, make sure these features provide beneficial information. If your app uses location-based information primarily to enable mobile advertisers to deliver targeted ads based on a user's location, your app will be returned to you by the App Store Review Team for modification before it can be posted to the App Store.

Since Apple bought mobile advertiser Quattro Wireless and said they were going to provide a seamless way for developers to earn advertising revenue, especially for free apps, chatter on the web has it the above is Apple's way of locking out the competition in general, and Google-owned AdMob in specific.

And why not? Just a few days ago there was rampant speculation Apple was forcing Stanza to remove USB sharing to punish owner Amazon and get all anti-competitive due to their upcoming iBooks app. Turns out, however, Stanza was using a private API and misusing the camera roll to store eBooks instead of the image files it's meant for.

Okay sure, maybe Apple is getting ready to be anti-competitive about advertising, and risk a ton of negative developer reaction and potential investigation, or maybe Quattro Wireless-powered apps will likewise have to make sure advertising isn't the primary purpose of location-aware apps either. Maybe our location information is a fairly important piece of data and using it because we want to find a restaurant or friend is preferable to it being used because someone else wants to serve us an ad.

So yes, this could be a nefarious plot for unfair competition or it could just be Apple's policy on all location-based advertising going forward -- if you want to use GPS and CoreLocation, make sure the primary reason is for the user, not for the ads.

TiPb will keep an eye on this as it develops, but let us know your thoughts!

[Thanks to Fassy for the tip!]