iPad Apps Approval Process

No one can deny the buzz and enthusiasm surrounding the recent iPad announcement. The sentiment is shared among many developers and consumers alike. But Apple could face a sizable challenge around launch time.

By the time the iPhone SDK was opened to developers, there were already millions of devices in the market. Developers were encouraged to test on hardware (iPhone and iPod Touch) before submitting to the App Store, instead of relying on performance in the simulator to represent likely behavior on a customer’s device.

Enter iPad. Now we developers have the SDK long before the hardware is widely distributed. So we’ll do most of our development without the benefit of on-device performance feedback. That’s not a big deal. We’ll test on a device before we submit to the store. But there’s the biggest challenge. Apple will want as many iPad apps in the store as possible as quickly as possible. Developers will want to be there as quickly as possible too. But now there are well over 100,000 “legacy” iPhone applications. Many will be updated to run differently on the new hardware. I don’t think 50% is out of the question. There will also be new apps written specifically for the iPad.

Now imagine developers standing outside the App Store with their arms full of roughly 50,000 apps, like the eager shoppers outside of WalMart at 5AM on Black Friday, ready to trample the friendly greeter when the doors open.

I have some suggestions to keep Apple from being buried in iPad app submissions:

1. Allow developers to pre-order and receive devices before the general public.

2. Delay the grand opening of the iPad App Store until the approval backlog shrinks.

3. Staff an army of app reviewers.

IA will be submitting iPad apps to the store, early and, hopefully, often. I appreciate anything Apple can do to make the approval process go more smoothly for developers. Because that will make the apps available faster to consumers as well.

And that’s good for all of us.




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