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View Full Version : Did Apple really screw up the App Store launch for developers?




Dippo
Jul 20, 2008, 02:40 PM
Sure Apple might have "sold" over 10 million apps, but it seems the entire process for developers is a complete mess.

From the initial selection of 4,000 developers to problems with people paying their $99 but not getting any further in the process. Then those that submit an app seem to have it wait forever for it to go through the approval process, and updates seem to be an even slower process.

I guess the whole point of all of these "barriers" is so that only good apps get in, but I have downloaded and even paid for some really bad and buggy apps. What gives?

I guess Apple holds all of the keys and we have to just deal with it?



NT1440
Jul 20, 2008, 02:43 PM
The 4,000 thing was to keep the store from become a massive mess come launch day. Yes they have to approve them which can take forever because of the vast amount of apps and developers that wanted in. Also, they test only to make sure that they dont destroy the advice, violate the terms of the SDK, and dont break copyrights (probably the most time consuming seeing as we all know how mucked up the legal system is)

hope that cleared up a few things

ayasin
Jul 20, 2008, 02:57 PM
I believe that Apple dropped the ball in some aspects of the store release.

Here are the things that I wish they would do:

- Fix the download counts already. It worked for all of one day (and not even the whole day). Even without financial results this lets you see if your pricing is working.
- Fix the unbelievably broken review process. The barrier to posting a review is the ability to download itunes and get mommy's credit card number. It should be only people who've actually purchased the app.
- Give us an idea of the average time it's taking to review a new app or to update an existing one so we can let our customers know when bugs will be fixed etc.

Here's what they should have done some time ago:

- Allowed ad hoc installs so we could get a beta base that could install and use the apps that we were writing. This would eliminate much of the buggyness that you now find on the store.

Here's what they did right:

- Have an app store that's a common marketplace for all apps
- Allow a limited number of developers in so you don't have 98 versions of tetris on the first day.
- Check credentials before approving developers
- Validate that apps aren't harmful to the phones before allowing them to be installed.

ayasin
Jul 20, 2008, 02:59 PM
Sure Apple might have "sold" over 10 million apps,

That's 10 million downloaded. Since many are free I suspect the numbers of sold apps are significantly lower.

admanimal
Jul 20, 2008, 03:08 PM
I think I could live with the annoying iTunes reviews if Apple would fix the submission and update process.

The only thing worse than getting bad reviews because of a bug in my app is getting bad reviews because of a bug in my app that I fixed two weeks ago in an update that my users can't get.

gralem
Jul 20, 2008, 07:08 PM
As a developer with THREE apps on the App Store, the definitive answer is: YES. I submitted my apps ahead of the monday-before-go-live deadline. In one case, I was trying to make sure I got my app in as early as possible to ensure that it would pass the review/inspection process. Well, my "final" versions were in Sunday night the 6th, so that they would be reviewed and released. Only one of my final versions was released on Friday. The unfortunate thing was that ALL THREE of my apps were released.

The REALLY unfortunate thing was that it appears that one of my apps--the one submitted as early as possible--is being distributed in BOTH pre-final versions. Some people see 3 buttons on the menu, some people see 4. I've seen actual iPhones of customers with different app versions. Thanks Apple!

After announcing that Monday the 7th was the deadline for a Friday the 11th release, Apple has yet to release the final version of this app. My app has been in review for 2 weeks with no indication from Apple when it will be updated.

Other news: one of my other apps was released in a nearly-final form on the 11th. The only thing I needed to update was international locales to it. This was added to my app and uploaded on Sunday the 6th. Round about Tuesday the 15th that update was finally accepted by Apple and released. When they released the 1 updated App, all of my apps showed up in the App Store as "available for updates".

So then I get all these support emails: "I just downloaded your updated software and I don't see any changes". Well, that's because Apple erroneously told you an update was available. Sorry. But I look like an idiot.

---gralem

gralem
Jul 20, 2008, 07:55 PM
I forgot to comment on 2 other items in this thread.

Download Counts: This will never be turned back on. This goes to the most vile point of the App Store--there is no information regarding developers' sales. Apple will not turn this count back on, because they do not want the developers to have ANY sort of idea regarding their success (or failure). They are going to deposit money in our account once per month and tell us then what our sales were (or what they tell us our sales were).

Apple does not want developers to say "hey--you only paid me for X downloads, but the App Store counter says I sold (X+100)!!!" I do not know how anyone can operate a business where there is no information whatsoever regarding your sales, until once a month when your income is granted to you--no questions asked.

Broken Apps: This is another issue. There may be some poorly written apps, but Apple has a review process. I believe that much of this falls on the shoulders of the Apple review process. Beyond that, several developers have reported random app crashes. A very limited number of my customers have reported random/strange problems--problems I cannot reproduce. Luckily for my customers, they would delete the app and re-download/re-install, the app starts working again.

I don't know what is the cause of these random issues. My gut tells me that it's actually related to either the distribution certificates (generated by Apple) or the provisioning profiles (also generated by Apple, and were hacked together late in the SDK process to give Apple another layer of control). Provisioning profiles have provided a number of issues for developers for the last month or 2.

---gralem

Littleodie914
Jul 21, 2008, 08:18 AM
Personally, yea, I think they did.

They've got a lot of great things going for them. The App Store is huge, the iPhone is even bigger. This is an enormous market, and any developer would love to be involved in it.

Including myself. I submitted an app that I spent a LOT of time writing, testing, and polishing, and it's still not on the store. When did I submit it, you ask? Yesterday? Last week?

Nope. July 2nd. 19 days ago.

Thanks Apple, I feel real welcome and enticed to continue development on your platform.

chadwin
Jul 24, 2008, 01:53 AM
really feels like apple is flying by the seat of their pants on this process - a little overwhelmed apple?

As well it is a shame that good apps (of course I am biased) have been sitting in the process of "review" with no word of release.

Anyone by the way know of the process for getting the next version up after your app is approved? It has been so long since we submitted that we already have the next version - what's up apple - think we may have our apps approved before 3.0 comes out?

AndyQ
Jul 24, 2008, 02:26 AM
Whats worse is that when you submit an ap and then later realise that there is a problem with the update that needs addressing, you can't remove the submission even though it hasn't been approved or reviewed yet.

There is also no way of contacting Apple (or at least they just don't respond at al) asking them to reject it.

Almost 2 weeks now....

admanimal
Jul 24, 2008, 02:50 AM
Anyone by the way know of the process for getting the next version up after your app is approved? It has been so long since we submitted that we already have the next version - what's up apple - think we may have our apps approved before 3.0 comes out?

Once you get the first version accepted, there is a button that let's you update the app. You just upload the new binary and add some release notes.

However, the problem that many of us have is that the review process for updates is taking so long that we have even newer updates ready to go, but there is no way to replace an "in review" update with a newer one. My app was ready for sale on 7/9, and I uploaded a small update the same day. That update is still in review, so even when it is finally accepted my users might still have to wait another few weeks to get the latest version that incorporates most of the features they have suggested since the app was released. It makes me and the app look bad.

liptonlover
Jul 24, 2008, 07:50 AM
guys don't be TOO hard on apple. This is a new thing for them, and they are probably overwhelmed and swamped with updates apps and developers to review. I can easily understand why things are so messed up. It'll all settle down soon. Now the download count on the other hand...

admanimal
Jul 24, 2008, 09:29 AM
guys don't be TOO hard on apple. This is a new thing for them, and they are probably overwhelmed and swamped with updates apps and developers to review. I can easily understand why things are so messed up. It'll all settle down soon. Now the download count on the other hand...

It would be easier to be understanding if the process made any kind of sense. How can some apps have already had several updates when I (and many others) have been waiting for my first update to be approved since before the store even launched? How can a new app that got submitted two days ago get accepted before an app that was submitted two weeks ago?

They should have been smart enough not to end the beta period right after the store launched if everything was going to be so screwed up.

chadwin
Jul 24, 2008, 07:16 PM
liptonlover what are you talking about - come on - apple could have learned from the first version of the iphone and its popularity along with just the shear number of applications received. To not be prepared for the number of applications that were submitted is crazy and what is even worse is the real poor to non-existent communication. I have lost a lot of respect for them as a company and business organization. As a developer I feel like just a well used and advertised statistic to them now.

admanimal
Jul 24, 2008, 11:09 PM
To add insult to injury, I just saw that my main competitor had their first update posted today. Granted it is possible that they submitted their update before mine, there have still been many, many other apps that have been updated and definitely did not.

I really hope they at least approve my other app that I submitted for the first time on Monday night in the next few days before a real competitor to that has a chance to appear so I don't feel like I'm totally getting screwed over and can stop ranting about this in every app store thread on here.