After bearing the brunt of a seemingly never-ending stream of complaints about the iPhone app store, Apple has finally done a little something that will actually leave developers smiling.
One of the most commonly voiced complaints about the iTunes App Store is the lack of transparency Apple provides developers. For some developers, the app approval process can be a 2-month ordeal that often leaves them wondering what the hell is going on in Cupertino, while for others, the waiting list to push out important bug fixes has the potential to leave customers in dire situations.
As of early last week, those problems have both been addressed.
First, Apple recently added a queue that gives developers with pending app submissions an estimated time-frame for when they can expect their app to be approved and get up and running on iTunes.
But wait, there’s more!
Apple has also provided a new method of communication for developers to get in touch with Apple when urgent issues arise, such as the need to issue a significant bug fix. By using a newly provided email address (appreview [at] apple.com), developer problems can be prioritized over less-urgent developer concerns and questions, and immediately be brought to the attention of the app store review team. And in case this idea sounds somewhat familiar, it’s the same solution that Twitterific developer Craig Hockenberry proposed back in early June.
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.
While I’m sure developers still have some bones to pick with Apple, this is certainly a promising step in the right direction.