To keep a lucrative ecosystem like the App Store in superlative conditions, Apple has made it clear since 2008 that its App Store Review Guidelines are key to keeping the arena free from malicious, broken, dangerous, or offensive material. It’s perhaps prudent to note that for something to see progress, the negative experiences have to be taken a look at even more than the positive ones, which should be looked at for motivation no less.
Mobile Apps Developer frustration at the App Review process might appear inconsequential to most, but it does have its related implications, one of which is the stifling of app innovation, which will take a look at in detail.
Apple does not release information on how long it takes for a processing period, but much less significant update on how many submissions were reviewed in the last five business days. When it comes to eradicating bugs, the review period is torture to developers who sometimes find it preposterous that in situations where a critical bug fix was needed, they had to wait so long, which hasn’t been a walk in the park for customer satisfaction. While it is possible to obtain an expedited review from Apple, these requests are not always guaranteed, and it is also of many a popular opinion that these developers are wary of the fact that there may be more critical fixes in the future that require an expedited review than their current predicament.
Slow reviews can also be a logistical nightmare, considering the cross-platform simultaneous releases, so developers often need to plan ahead and put aside significant amounts of time when planning these time-sensitive releases.
Sometimes mobile apps developer have come across instances where the App Review team kept rejecting a particular app because they could not access the contents of the app, and while this was baffling on the developers’ end, it took them some convincing that it was largely due to the App Review’s configuration of their network and iCloud.
Apps sometimes hit snags with metadata rejections, in some cases where screenshots of their app contained featured comic book covers, which according to the review, the developers had no rights to. But it turns out, embarrassingly, that there are numerous apps that feature the covers and posters of movies, shows, and books.
While it is important to note that these happenstances are unfortunate and largely due to human error, they are few compared to the positive feedback that surrounds the App Review team.
Releasing an app to the public is a critical period in which mobile apps developers all try to make sure things work out in their favour. There have been some positively reaffirming stories about how the App Review team, for instance, had notified developers about a graphical bug that only seemed to appear in certain versions of OS X and had the developers informed about it via screenshots in a bid to document it. Another common story is one that involved the App Review team sending crash logs to help developers quickly rectify their problem before the app was due for release to its customers.
While some have complained about the excruciatingly long spells that developers have to go through on the sidelines waiting for a semblance of feedback from the App Review team, there have been times when developers have received reviews within 24 hours, because of how this express process allows a particular developer’s app to jump to the front of the review queue.
The App Review team, it has to be said, can’t surely make everyone happy, but they’ve managed to cater to most, and on a reasonably consistent basis for the past 8 years. There are of course some areas that could be looked at if the entire process wants to see less flak over the coming years.
- Greater transparency
- Better communication
- Pre-approval of innovative features
- Blind rejections
While it is gratifying to note that there have been more success stories than otherwise, Apple has to acknowledge that its success shouldn’t in the least overshadow the real problems that it needs to tackle over the long term so that it doesn’t stifle app innovation, borne out of developer frustration and low morale.