According to section 11.2 of the App Store Review Guidelines,

Apps utilizing a system other than the In App Purchase API (IAP) 
to purchase content, functionality, or services in an app will be rejected.

Various apps like JetSetter, Gilt, and Kayak include in-app purchasing flows that either collect credit card information directly, or use a UIWebView to direct the user to a third-party website to purchase goods and services.

What provision allows apps to do this, and what are the limitations to purchasing physical goods and services in an iPhone app without using IAP?

  • did these applications pass the App Store review? are these available in App Store? if not, they could care less about what guidelines say – gnat May 29 '12 at 15:50
  • Yes, these are all apps published in the App Store. – warrenm May 29 '12 at 17:12

It's all spelled out pretty clearly in the developer agreement, I think. If I remember correctly, you must use IAP to purchase content for your app, and you must not use IAP to purchase real-world goods and services. I haven't looked at the apps you mention, but a service like Kayak is surely selling real-world services (flights, hotel stays, etc.) rather than app content.

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