Below is an email which I sent to the good folks at Apple.
As the CEO of a company with a popular app in your iPhone app store (Dating DNA), I'd like to offer up the following suggestion:
Apple should offer "priority reviews" to developers for $20 (or whatever amount makes sense) per app submission. In other words, developers could still submit their apps to the App Store for free and wait several days for the normal review process, OR they could choose to pay an extra fee for a quicker turn around. Apple would then use those funds to hire more QA testers.
The problem we have as a developer, is we release a product which both the developer and Apple find no problems with, but once thousands of people start using it, users may discover a serious crash or bug. There is currently no way for developers to get users an immediate fix for this. =( This causes the iPhone user to suffer, and it gives the developer a black eye for not having corrected the problem quickly. They blame the developer (low star rating, bad write ups and reviews, angry emails, etc.), not knowing a fix has been waiting for approval from Apple for weeks.
Charging a fee would also solve the problem of developers submitting new versions too often, because they know their either going to have to wait or pay a fee. You could even charge the fee EACH TIME the app needs to be re-submitted, forcing developers to really make sure the app or update is tested fully before submitting.
As you know, the App Store is hot, and it's only going to get hotter. This problem needs to be solved for the sake of Apple, developers and, most importantly, the customer. My suggestion seems like a very fair and easy solution to implement. For the smaller developers who can't afford a fee, it would still be free but they just need to wait a little longer, but for the bigger developers who have invested tens of thousands of dollars into their app, they could pay for quick turn around on updates and fixes.
Thanks for considering my suggestion, and keep up the great work!
CEO, Dating DNA
PS: I sent this to people I personally know at Apple, as well as their developer program team. From the dev prog team I received an auto reply that they would get back with me, but it started with:
"Please note that the Apple Developer Connection will be closed from Wednesday, December 24th through Friday, December 26th for the December Holiday. We will re-open on Monday, December 29th, 2008."
Hmmmm....considering today is January 15th, it makes me wonder when they'll be getting back to me. =)