Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Delayed Apps

Apple clearly hasn't yet figured out how to handle the Apps that its developers deliver. We have had one App in their 'approval process' for 8 weeks (tomorrow).

The App in question gives the user complete access to the current issue of the Spectator and a substantial archive. Apple are not willing to give us any information on when it will be approved for release (the messages they send are very polite, but automated and without real information). The App certainly works. I have been enjoying it myself and it was submitted at just about the same time as our App for Athletics Weekly which is functionally identical and has been merrily ringing up sales in the App Store for a month [App Store link]. Here is a screen shot of the Spectator App in action:

Why would Apple hang on to such an App for 8+ weeks? Why can they not give some helpful explanation for the delay? Is their software evaluation leading them to search through the five year archive in the account? Are they stuck with a protracted review because the Spectator has an occasional (and very good) wine column? The lack of explanation is puzzling and clearly self-defeating. When the App is made available in the App store, Apple will be capturing a substantial 'top-slice' of the revenue it generates. Until that moment arrives, the keen student of British politics will make do with a Spectator subscription from the Exact Editions magazine store, and can she supplement this with the Free App Exactly.

The most frustrating thing about this delay for us (which is also quite damaging for Apple if it is the experience of other developers) is that our generic App software is improving all the time and we have withheld offering a new version of the App platform to our users, for the moment. Clunky and protracted review processes seem so twentieth century, surely Apple want to encourage rapid development and innovation on their splendid and attractive platform?

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