Craig Hockenberry, the developer behind Twitterrific, came up with a great way for Apple to handle the inevitable situations where an iPhone app needs an immediate and critical update.
Fortunately, I think there’s a simple way to solve this problem for all developers selling products on the App Store. The inspiration for this solution will be obvious to anyone who’s used Apple’s Developer Technical Support (DTS.)
When you purchase an ADC membership, you are given a number of “incidents”. These DTS incidents can be used when you have a problem that can’t be solved through documentation, support forums or hours and hours of debugging. It’s for the hard stuff, and usually involves getting an engineer at Apple involved to understand and fix the issue…
A similar system could be put in place for critical bug fixes on the App Store. If every developer was given one or two “prioritized reviews,” it would act as insurance for the brain farts. You’d have a way to raise a flag and say “I need special attention for a critical bug.”
If another developer has a critical bug, I have no problem with my review process for a feature release taking a little longer. And since prioritized reviews would be a scarce resource, they won’t be open for abuse because developers will think twice before using them.
Sounds good to us. With over 50,000 apps currently in the app store, it seems crucial for Apple to provide developers with an avenue to expedite any potential concerns or security issues. And as Hockenberry points out, if each developer can only use that avenue a limited number of times, there should be no issue with an overload of requests.