According to a report from TUAW, Apple will soon begin rejecting OS X apps submitted to the Mac App Store that utilize hotkey functionality. The report does not cite a specific source, and app developers we have talked to seem to be unaware of the change. TUAW claimed Apple will only allow existing “hotkey apps”, and those released before June 1, to issue future bug fixes. New apps and existing apps that are releasing updates with new features will apparently not be permitted to use hotkeys:
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.
The June 1 deadline lines up with the latest deadline Apple set for sandboxing Mac App Store apps, which is a new requirement that limits an app’s access to certain areas of the operating system. Apple is pushing sandboxing as “a great way to protect systems and users by limiting the resources apps can access and making it more difficult for malicious software to compromise users’ systems.” It appears it will also prevent apps from using hotkeys.
With the introduction of sandboxing, and the new Gatekeeper feature in Mountain Lion, Apple is creating a more controlled ecosystem for apps on OS X. It is also one that closer resembles iOS; so limiting access to specific hotkeys or gestures is not a huge surprise. Apple recently emailed non-App Store developers encouraging them to sign their apps with a Developer ID certificate to get prepared for Gatekeeper. The process would allow Gatekeeper to verify the app, but it does not appear Apple will try to restrict non-Mac Store apps from using hotkeys.