As OS X continues to become more of a consumer-oriented platform and less of a power user-friendly environment, Apple is reportedly set to begin enforcing new guidelines in the Mac App Store that will ban apps that use “hotkey” functionality.
Apps like Alfred are able to give the user a universal system hotkey that can be used to access the app anywhere in OS X. Starting on June 1st, Apple will be prohibiting these kinds of system-wide features from making their way into the Mac App Store.
TUAW has been told that Apple will be rejecting all apps with hotkey functionality starting June 1, regardless of whether the new features are hotkey related or not. Basically, if you’re developing one of those apps, an app that assumes you can still add hotkeys, don’t bother submitting it to the Mac App Store.
It’s not just press-to-switch apps that are feeling the pressure of the future. Many cross-app scripting utilities and macro programs already can’t step foot in the App Store and will have to fight for a space on your computer under Mountain Lion’s GateKeeper.
Apple has been pushing for developers to implement its sandboxing policies in the Mac App Store since last year, and June 1st is the deadline for all submitted apps to comply with the new permissions. Apple doesn’t want an app interacting with much of OS X because it wants the threat of a security breach to be minimized. This is understandable from a business and marketing perspective, since Apple obviously wants the Mac to be the safest option for the end consumer. But is Apple really willing to sacrifice its core power users for a suburbanized OS?
TUAW cites anonymous sources and says that “Apple will allow hotkey apps that are already in the Mac App Store before June to offer only bug fixes.” Any new apps with hotkeys and cross-app scripting won’t make it through the Mac App Store’s front door.
Federico Viticci of MacStories reached out to several developers and couldn’t find any concrete evidence suggesting a hotkey ban, but it’s assumed that the policy will be enforced alongside Apple’s sandboxing requirements at the beginning of next month.