In defense of Apple’s review process

So much has been made in the news/blogosphere lately of the apple review process.  Specifically, there have been some applications like Tweetie which were rejected for silly reasons such as foul language in web content.  However, even as a recent “victim” of application rejection, I would like to come to the defense of Apple and the iPhone application development process as a whole (including the approval process).

P.J. the Pony takes a deep breath and climbs atop his soapbox…

Let’s take a step back and look at what Apple has done in the interest of an open, accessible development platform.  Let’s start with a comparable gaming platform – the Nintendo DS.  In order to be officially recognized as a developer, you need a company with an experienced team of software developers.  The alternative is to resort to many of the hacked and homebrewed development toolchains – even then, if you complete an application, how are you going to market or sell it.  On the contrary, Apple put out a platform so that people like me can pay $99 and develop an app in a couple of months of night and weekend labor.  Are my apps groundbreaking – of course not.  However, they’re fun, and I have had a blast developing them and with iTunes and Apples sizable addressable market, I have a chance to make a few bucks and strike it rich if I was really lucky.  This is the equivalent of a gold rush, but instead of heading into the old west, Apple has conveniently delivered the mine right to my doorstep.

As far as the approval process goes, I think Apple is smart to gatekeep what makes it into the app store.   Am I disappointed that my silly “booty call” app came down on the wrong side of the moral fence? Absolutely.  Did I know that I was walking the line? Yes, of course.  Did I have a backup plan? Yep.  At the end of the day, 12% of the 63 billion websites that exist today are porn.  I for one am pretty happy that the iTunes App Store is not 12% porn –  and I would probably throw my phone out the window if it started doing something malicious like sending text messages without my knowledge.

Finally, I think it’s crazy not to have a little sympathy for the app approval backlog.  Again I speak from experience here too.  Earlier today, I received this email:

Dear Bearded Pony,

Your application iShake It Camera is requiring unexpected additional time for review.   We apologize for the delay, and will update you with further status as soon as we are able.

Thank you for your patience.

Regards,
iPhone Developer Program

Craig the Beard said that it’s probably taking so long because the app is so awesome… but I digress…

Apple is in one of those magical situations that people in meetings and on conference calls all over the country only dream about.  They’re trying something – a new marketing plan or introducing a new product, and one of them says “What if this just totally blows up and we can’t handle the demand” and the other one says “Who cares…we’ll be rich” and everyone laughs.

I guess my message is LIGHTEN UP.  If you bet your livelihood on selling 10,000 fart machines by next Wednesday,  don’t blame apple for not being so anxious to let you ride on its coattails until Thursday.

Satisfied, P.J the Pony steps down from his soapbox.

Til’ the morrow,
P.J. the Pony


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