Thursday, January 15, 2009

My Email to Apple about their iPhone App Store Approval Process

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!

Kevin Carmony
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. =)


Bartski said...

Apple's Customer Service motto: "We've already got your money and plenty of other suckers are right behind suck it!!"

Spinfusor said...

I think that is a great idea.

However, I think the iTunes store needs demo capability more.

Kevin Carmony said...

Actually, that was another suggestion I have previously made to Apple. My suggestion is to just have a 24-hour, no-questions asked, one-click return policy for any app you buy in the store.

Since apps can only be added via Apple's App Store, they are in an ideal situation to do this. This would allow users to purchase the full working version of ANY app, but should you decide WITHIN 24 HOURS from when you purchased it, that you don't want to keep it, just click the Return button, and Apple would credit your account the appropriate amount. (No money back, as that gets tricky with charge back fees, etc.)

The return would only take effect IF Apple has verified that it has been removed from your phone and iTunes library.


Anonymous said...

Kevin i love the idea of expatiated app approval as well as testing of software.

good example is i am looking for at all the chess programs in the app store to put one on my iPod touch and cant make up my mind on if i want one of the free ones or one of the appls that you pay for. most of the chess programs are at least 3.5 stars and have good feedback... so this makes choosing hard. admittedly i am not the worlds bet chess player but i wouled still lioke to try one of the programs thet they charge for. it is all about ui and you can only tell so much about the ui and how it well a given ui works for you. one of the other places this happens is with sudoku.... there are so many that you might need the option to try before you buy. heck maby even like a 25 cent rental for 48 hrs. if they could figure out a way to put a ttl (time to live) in the package