A year with the iTunes App Store, according to Craig Hockenberry

Mon, Jul 13, 2009


Craig Hockenberry, of Iconfactory and Twitterrific fame, recently penned an article detailing a year of ups and downs with the iTunes App Store.  Hockenberry lays out a number of things Apple did right, things it did wrong, and more importantly, comes up with a few ideas that we agree would work to make the app store experience more beneficial for both developers and consumers.

For example, Hockenberry writes that Apple would be well advised to offer developers upgraded and a more personal service in exchange for a higher $999 developer fee, which is currently priced at $99.


Charge $999 for premium service. For professional developers, this cost is not prohibitive and would allow Apple to provide additional services such as:

  • Shorter review times. The trust level between Apple and the developer is higher when there’s more money on the table.
  • More “fast track tickets” as mentioned above. Larger development shops have more staff doing stupid things, so give us more freedom to deal with it.
  • Discounts for test devices. With each product release, it becomes more difficult for developers to support the new hardware. The primary factor here is that an AT&T contract is required to get the test device. Something similar to the Mac hardware discounts for ADC members would help significantly.
  • Background artwork for our products in iTunes. Getting a nice background means a lot to us: it makes our products more attractive to potential customers. Let us pay for the time it takes to put it up.
  • Approval of ideas prior to development. Developers have crazy ideas. Before spending months of development on that wacky thought, it would be nice to get pre-approval from Apple on the concept.
  • More devices in the Program Portal. The current limit of 100 devices is a joke for developers with multiple products: if you have 5 products, you can only have 20 devices per app. That, combined with multiple hardware releases in the 12 month period, means we’re effectively prevented from testing our applications until July 12th.
  • A contact in Apple Developer Relations. Sometimes we need to talk directly to someone at Apple.

There’s a lot more meat in Hockenberry’s full post, and it’s definitely worth checking out over here.


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