The mobile app retail equivalent of the Bermuda Triangle, Apple’s App Store may have just gotten a little less mysterious and baffling for app developers.
Devs have been awash on the webs, commiserating (or bristling) about rejected apps or ones still in review that are taking eons longer than two weeks to review. Oftentimes, the issue has to do with how they’re left in the dark on the status of their submissions.
In response, Apple has just unveiled a new RSS feed for iPhone devs. Its goal is to keep them up-to-date with developer news and announcements, such as:
The big thing on the list for devs is “turnaround time for app reviews,” which should greatly help open the lines between the iPhone maker and its app developers. Apple has long been struggling to stay on top of the flood of iPhone app submissions. Now, if there are any bumps causing big delays, there’s a method of communication that could help deflate some of the ensuing frustration and resignation.
A tendency toward closed, black box operations is actually pretty typical for the iPhone maker. So what’s changed? Well, a couple things: Droid is marching in and stealing a lot of thunder, most recently taking the title as Time Magazine’s Coolest Gadget of 2009. And with Android seemingly everywhere, many prognosticators are predicting an upsurge of Android apps. (Many experts believe that apps will hold the key to success for whoever ultimately comes out on top.)
The App Store is expected to surge with programs too, but gumming up the works are also iPhone security breaches and a mass confusion over Apple’s app review criteria. So Cupertino had no choice but to revisit some of its practices. It can’t risk deflecting quality developers to the other side, and winding up with 300,000 fart apps and other tasteless programs.
I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again: Happy developers equals good, quality apps, which in the end equals many happy end users. So I think this was a good (albeit overdue) move on Apple’s part. I just hope it’s only the beginning of a more open developer outreach initiative.