Apple Tweaks App Store Review Process - InformationWeek
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11/12/2009
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Apple Tweaks App Store Review Process

The iPhone maker is adding transparency to its App Store vetting process.

In a move that may ease growing concerns with application developers, Apple has rolled out a way for content creators to track the status of programs they submit to the App Store.

Developers can now log in to Apple's Dev Center Web site and receive notifications on how far along their program is in the review process. This includes time and date stamps, as well at status updates like "waiting for review," and "in review." While this is a relatively minor addition, it does add a new level of transparency to a review process that has turned off some content creators.

Apple is the sole gatekeeper for the App Store and its wildly popular platform has seen more than two billion downloads in a year and a half, as well as more than 100,000 programs. But some developers have said Apple's vetting process is inconsistent or unfair. For example, a South Park app was rejected for offensive content, but a baby-shaking app was briefly approved and sold.

Joe Hewitt, the lead developer of the popular Facebook app for iPhone, said he has quit the project because of Apple's approval process. The social networking giant will undoubtedly continue to update and develop for the iPhone, but Hewitt said he had enough with Apple's role as gatekeeper.

"My decision to stop iPhone development has had everything to do with Apple's policies," Hewitt told TechCrunch. "I respect their right to manage their platform however they want, however I am philosophically opposed to the existence of their review process."

Despite some concerns about the review process, Apple's mobile platform remains an attractive target for developers because of the high number of iPhone and iPod Touch users. Apple's rivals like Microsoft, Android, and Research In Motion also have some form of app review for their respective over-the-air app stores, but the companies are looking to attract developers by being more open and transparent about their vetting processes.


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