Sunday, August 10, 2008

The misfit of Apple control over App Store

When Apple introduced the centralized distribution for all of iPhone & iPod Touch apps on App Store, everybody agree it is a great idea and should be the best thing next to the invention of sliced bread. And Apple even said it has even recorded 10 million application downloads since the July 10th launch date, that’s a promising numbers both for the company & software developers.

An app lives or dies by Apple reviews. And that is one of many details that was missed from software developers’ mind, many of them have spoken out loud about App Store problems.

The problems are not apparent for consumers, who purchase apps through App Store. First and most crucial one is about updates delay that contain patches & fixes. Software developers are seeing this as serious threats to their products credibility, because Apple is taking too long of time to publish app updates after developers have submitted them.

Fraser Speirs, owner of Connected Flow (makers of the Exposure Flickr application for the iPhone) said “I don’t have a problem with updates being reviewed [by Apple prior to posting], but it has to go a lot faster."

My only issue with app review is the time factor,” Speirs added. “If I needed to fix a data-destroying bug, or a privacy/security issue, would it take this long? My 1.0.1 update contained fixes for three serious crashing bugs, yet it took a week to get it on the store. People tell me this time lag is nothing different from other console/phone type arrangements, but Mac developers have been used to pushing out updates as soon as they’re ready.”

And to make it worse, Apple has only been providing minimum communications with software developers; especially the little ones. Causing a certain feeling of disparity, “I’m not happy with delays involved, and the seemingly arbitrary favoritism that’s evident,” said an anonymous iPhone developer. “It’s either favoritism or just general chaos.”

"Apple needs to do a lot of work to improve communications between developers and the people in charge of the App Store," said John Casasanta, president of Tap Tap Tap. "In my experience, communication has been pretty spotty so far, as opposed to the great service Apple's provided with Developer Technical Support. We have questions that have gone unanswered so far and unlike DTS, we don't even have any kind of direct contact with anyone there, unfortunately."

Final issue that’s most important for software developers is about app sales info transparency, which seems like Apple is trying to hide the real sales numbers from them. Again, there’s no much of news and informations are given from Apple to software developers. This shows some kind of tyranny act for Apple, and can affect its image world wide.

As I’m writing this blog, Apple probably has given more alternative ways for software developers to know how their apps are doing, by monthly or weekly performance sheets. Or perhaps, there’s already a good and acceptable solution from Apple that the public isn’t being told yet. As we all know, Apple is very strict on its NDA (Nondisclosure Agreement) policy. Thus the developers are not allowed to tell us anything about it.

But for the sake of App Store, iPhone & iPod Touch’s future; or maybe other new products released tomorrow, I do really hope that Apple will sort out this problems with App Store soon. Because 3rd party software developers are the one that fuel App Store, making it thrive with excitement for Apple users to always come visit it again and again.

Sources are from:
iPhone developers frustrated with App Store (Macworld)
  • Developers to Apple: Be More Transparent on App Standards (PC World)
  • [blogged with my Treo 750v]

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