iPhone developers frustrated with App Store
Posted 28 July 2008 - 07:05 AM
>>Take for example, the experience of Agile solutions, makers of the fantastic, best of breed password manager 1Password.
I've wondered about 1Password myself. It's such an indispensable aid on my Macs, I'd like to see it on my iPhone as well.
But what I can't figure out is why we're seeing whining from those who didn't attend the WWDC. It was well known that attendance would be the ticket to early iPhone application approval. So any company who wanted an early competitive advantage by having their app approved on Day One but didn't have a rep at the WWDC just shot themselves in the foot. At this point, I say let them wait their turn in the queue.
Posted 28 July 2008 - 11:47 AM
It really is a problem. I am confident it will get worked out in time, but for now, all we can do is field support email after support email from folks who are running up against the bug, and unable to get the fix. This is just awful. Thankfully I am not getting many bad reviews as a result, but if I was getting clobbered it would be devastating.
Posted 29 July 2008 - 01:53 AM
Posted 30 July 2008 - 01:29 AM
I've ben reading endless reports of such whining for the past week or so, and just posted a detailed and--somewhat angry--response on my site:
Posted 30 July 2008 - 01:58 AM
bq. you have to wait around a bit to get your apps or updates approved
I don't think it's just "a bit" in all cases. I've heard of developers who were among the first to send in their apps, and have yet to have their apps accepted. They also haven't received any feedback from Apple as to when they might hear Apple's decision. That makes them wonder whether they should give up or continue devoting resources to something that they might never be able to sell.
bq. Maybe the fact that you are getting a cool, steady, revenue for your apps without having to worry about advertising or marketing?
Well, if the app is stuck in the queue, there won't be any revenue, cool or hot, steady or unsteady. If there's an assurance that there will eventually be the possibility for revenue, maybe people would shut up, but that doesn't seem to be the case.
bq. After all, iPhone users today just TAP the App Store icon, and download whatever they want, knowing the apps are all safe–for their data, as well as for the device itself.
If you read some of the commentary on Macworld and elsewhere, I think you'll find that many apps are unstable and crash frequently. I think if the apps were all useful and rock solid, people would generally accept that a lack of freedom was a reasonable price to pay for that major benefit. But as things are, people are wondering who, if anyone, actually benefits from the system Apple has put in place.
Posted 30 July 2008 - 04:36 AM
First, you refer to the whining as "Sheer ingratitude". But here I have to disagree. You see first of all for those of us with paid applications in the store we are paying Apple 30% of the revenue right off the top. We pay for this service with our work. Yes, this is by-and-large a fair rate. Yes it offsets the costs for so many free apps, but from an independent developers perspective, we pay for this service. A service that we were led to believe would work as advertise, growing pains and all. We are not being given something for nothing. Think about that, 30% of our efforts is not an insignificant amount.
Second, for those of us developers who took the time and care to write applications that are worthy of such a great mobile device, we care about the quality of what we release. There is so much crud in the store, so many people righting one-off crap to try and make a buck quick that it is mind blowing. As someone who cares about what I develop, I don't want to be lumped in with the cruft. Apple's system made it hard to do wide spread testing prior to the store launch. One of my apps had a minor bug, nothing that caused crashing, but something that after a bit of time effected the users. I care about customer service, I want my users to have a great experience. After all they paid for the application, they deserve it. But when I start to get emails from folks finally running into the bug because they have been enjoy the game so much they are playing it like crazy, I want to make sure they continue to. Not because they are going to give me more money, but because I take pride in what I create. Not being able to get these people an update to make there experience better is frustrating. It is unfair to me as a developer paying Apple for this convent service, and it is unfair to my customers and Apple's customers.
If Apple would provide a simple line of communication, most of this would be pacified. Just a simple, we know, we will fix it in X days/weeks, whatever. If we had some idea of what the mechanism was, then all this "whining" would go away. Better yet, you could just move on and not read the comments. I appreciate your point, but please realize that there is more to it than you reflect on in your blog post.
Posted 30 July 2008 - 06:24 AM
For all that, I did set out to be a little unfair in my post--this is a platform with tremendous potential, and teething problems aside, I think Apple has essentially proved that it can deliver and manage this platform. And many of the reports have somehow been focusing on the negative side too much. So I thought I'd try the other extreme myself, for a little while.
So some important problems, yes, but this is still a viable platform with potential, and very likely a better deal (and opportunity) than what the average developer has had in a long time. And I just think these reports of App Store problems should be tempered by this knowledge.
Anyhow, let's hope the problems are fixed soon, so we iPhone users get reliable, crash-free apps.
Posted 30 July 2008 - 06:37 AM
That aside, thanks for conceding that there's "many people righting one-off crap to try and make a buck quick". For me, that's been the real surprise since the App Store launched.
I know things will improve, but at present developers like yourself seem to be in a minority at the App Store. As a frequent iPhone shopper, I'm often shocked at the kind of work developers are charging for--and when I hear complaints from such developers that the APP STORE has problems, I can't help but put things in perspective a little.
Posted 01 August 2008 - 08:56 AM
However, I have to admit that I had my suspicions when Apple announced that it was the App Store gatekeeper. It just sounded like they were setting themselves up for quality control issues and delays. I get that Apple wants to make sure that the submitted programs meet certain standards, but Apple also has a responsibility to make sure that their quality review actually results in a better product and that fixes are posted right away (if not sooner :-) ). That said, I have been surprised at the number of buggy apps that have made it into the App Store. Is anyone at Apple is actually testing these programs in the real world?! And why can't developers offer demos or betas??
It seems to me that Apple is overwhelmed with the number of program submissions (they were expecting about 250, instead they got over 500) and allowing developers to offer betas or demos would be a great way to employ assistance from the community in making sure these programs work. Without demos or betas, the programs are completely characterized by the reviews, for better or worse. For those developers that really want to create the best program possible, the delays in getting fixes and updates to the App Store has to be very frustrating.
Also, in this age of "instant everything" it's really incredulous to me that Apple can't provide developers sales data on more than a monthly basis...sooo 20th century!
I remember when Apple was hoisted on its own petard due to its secretive culture and downright hubris. I hope Apple can iron out the App Store glitches and, in the future, be a lot more responsive and responsible to App Store developers and App Store customers. Otherwise, I am afraid that history will repeat itself...
Posted 01 August 2008 - 12:54 PM
We need faster & better work from Apple if they continue to be the only outside beta testing by these companies. Thsi also has reduced the ability of the software developer to be in control of their software.
Personally I'd like to see the iPhone/iPod Touch software to be sold just like all other software, through existing many sources. Apple has software at their Apple Store. There is testing done by groups to ensure that the software being produced meets a certain standard. Apple could fill this role. This would be like a tag that could be used saying something like "Apple Tested." Adding approved has many things that would be required but could be adding something that is not actually there. Also we may not want there anyway.
I am one that vote for the iPhoneiPod Touch App Store to only be part of the app answer for the Mac, not the only answer.
Bill the TaxMan
Posted 01 August 2008 - 01:27 PM
The store is a two edged sword. On one side, you have developers who want an open system. Who don't want Apple acting to much as a gatekeeper to what a developer can offer. You want an open free market system. On the other side we have the vast majority of consumers. We want a system that is reliable and offers some assurance of security, efficiency, and quality.
In many ways these two sides are mutually exclusive, and if you try and balance between the two, you are going to get cut at some point. In my experience, Apple is testing applications first to see that they launch. This test ensures the code signing was done correctly, and the developer can at least follow directions. It also seems they jump in an app, and spend a few seconds banging the buttons, then out they go and sign off on it. They update the developers app status, and sometime within a few hours it shows up in the store. If it crashes on them, they may try once or twice more then reject it.
This is what you want from a developer point of view. Well not all developers I guess. I am a developer and a consumer. I want it both ways. I want some sort of quality control since I am not worried about my apps not being of an acceptable caliber. I want less crap getting in the way of people finding the decent stuff. There is some great apps out there, both for entertainment and otherwise. But it is so lost in a sea of, well lets just say, interesting design choices. But I can't fully come to terms with the idea of Apple having full say of what is acceptable. Does acceptable mean esthetically pleasing? Does it mean not violating users privacy? Does it mean not upsetting AT&T? Does it mean not competing with something Apple themselves or one of their friends?
I take some measure of pride in my silly little games. Apple could easily shut me out (and probably will). But as long as the system stays as open as possible, I and many others will have a viable marketplace to distribute our work and creativity. As a consumer, I just have to work a little harder, do my do diligence, write fair reviews, and move on with my life.
Posted 01 August 2008 - 02:29 PM
I think Apple should allow you to test the app before you buy it. I've gotten so many apps that I thought I would like but after using it, I hated it. It's just a waste of money.
Posted 01 August 2008 - 04:10 PM
Allowing beta testing b¥ the general public as is done with a lot of other software would also help. Then we can skip things like the first output of a new version of Windows or our own Mac OS.
Bill the TaxMan