Apple has updated its App Store Review Guidelines to include a rule prohibiting developers from creating Apple Watch apps that display the time. Rule 10.7 states any Watch Apps that have a “primary function” of telling the time will be rejected.
Though this rule, noticed first by 9to5Mac, was not previously listed in the App Store Review Guidelines or in the Apple Watch Human Interface Guidelines until today, Apple has previously been using this guideline to turn down Apple Watch apps, and its enforcement of this rule appears particularly strict, based on some of the apps that have been rejected.
MacRumors discussed the rule with one developer who had his app rejected from the App Store due to the new rule, even though his app merely used a clock-like face to display times for sunrise and sunset, along with the position of the sun and moon.
The Apple employee the developer spoke with informed him that any Apple Watch apps containing a clock face, the likeness of a clock, or time-telling functionality would be rejected. The employee also mentioned that quite a few apps had been rejected due to that policy.
Apple is known to enforce strict policies following new product launches, only later to relax the policies over time. We’ve seen similar rejection stories with the launch of the App Store itself, and the many new features that appear with new versions of iOS. So, it is possible Apple will relax their policy over time-telling apps, but, (say it with me), “only time will tell.”