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The Struggles of Getting Into the App Store

Soulskill posted about 2 years ago | from the man-vs-machine dept.

Software 329

itwbennett writes "You've heard the horror stories about the App Store approval process driving developers away, but what really makes it so bad isn't the 6-8 day waiting period or even rejection. What make it so bad is the lack of access to a human problem-solver at who can loosen the stranglehold of Apple's protocol machine, says Matthew Mombrea, who recounts in excruciating detail his company's experience publishing iOS apps, and, worse, updates to iOS apps."

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What we have here... (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41748079)

Is failure to communicate.

Re:What we have here... (4, Insightful)

Mitreya (579078) | about 2 years ago | (#41748695)

What we have here...Is failure to communicate.

What we have here ... Is a deliberate failure to communicate.

FTFY.
Explaining policies would expose inconsistencies and cost money in additional staff hours.
Apple is not the first company that decided to create a couple of layers between customer support and customers.

Re:What we have here... (5, Insightful)

immaterial (1520413) | about 2 years ago | (#41748819)

It sucks that he can't get through to the reviewers. That said, his app is clearly violating Apple's guidelines. There's no ambiguity or inconsistency here: you cannot use your app to direct users to buy things from you without using the in-app purchase system. (Yes, this requirement blows goats. But it is clear and straightforward.) He gets rejected once for directing users to purchase an account at their website in the app description. His solution to this isn't the logical step of *remove the offending bit*, it's *remove it and replace it with a button that does the same thing.* And he's surprised it gets rejected again? If ever he does get ahold of the review team, they aren't going to give a shit about his "but it isn't convenient or sensible for us or our users" excuse - of course it isn't! This rule wasn't convenient or sensible for the Kindle app either, but them's the rules in the walled garden and the reviewers aren't going to give him special treatment. (TBH I wouldn't be surprised if they ultra-low-prioritized his requests in favor of responding to developers who have actual fixable issues.)

Re:What we have here... (1, Insightful)

Serious Callers Only (1022605) | about 2 years ago | (#41748897)

This is all true (though note that if you're selling physical goods the rules are different, presumably because Apple don't want to own that space, yet).

It's also true that Apple is abusing their stranglehold on the market to try to wring all possible money out of developers, and cripple the software of competitors like Amazon and Google. That's not acceptable for users, developers, or a healthy ecosystem long-term, and we should continue to complain about it until they fix it.

Yes, it sucks (5, Interesting)

solidtransient (883338) | about 2 years ago | (#41748091)

I can tell you from going through numerous reviews that it's a terribly inconsistent process and has lead to a lot of frustration. I've been denied before for extremely petty reasons, only to get through on the 3rd or 4th try. Good luck trying to get an idea of how long it will take also. It has taken 45 days or longer from initial submission to being 'ready for sale'. I understand they want to keep control of their market, but their denials really interfere with my motivation to continue developing on their platform. However, on Android I've made far far less revenue on the same apps, only to see my app get 'returned' daily and probably pirated. It's worth the pain still at this point to hit iOS first and Android afterwards, especially to make 3X to 4X revenue on iOS. It's why I hope Microsoft's approvals for Win 8 and RT can be somewhere in the middle.

Re:Yes, it sucks (5, Interesting)

jtownatpunk.net (245670) | about 2 years ago | (#41748271)

Serious question: How does Win8's fragmentation figure in your decision to potentially develop for their mobile platforms?

From what I can tell, to have full support across all of their portable devices, you'll need to have 3 versions of each app. One for the Windows Phone 8, one for Windows RT 8, and one for x86/x64 Windows 8. I've seen reports that RT tablets won't be able to run phone apps and phones won't be able to run RT apps so that means two ARM builds. And there are also a lot of x86 tablets in the pipeline that will be running the full x86 32 and 64 bit versions of Windows 8 so you'll need to cover them, too.

Seems like that would be a significant barrier to entry unless Microsoft has provided some pretty strong tools to port between platforms.

Re:Yes, it sucks (5, Informative)

Osty (16825) | about 2 years ago | (#41748775)

From what I can tell, to have full support across all of their portable devices, you'll need to have 3 versions of each app. One for the Windows Phone 8, one for Windows RT 8, and one for x86/x64 Windows 8. I've seen reports that RT tablets won't be able to run phone apps and phones won't be able to run RT apps so that means two ARM builds. And there are also a lot of x86 tablets in the pipeline that will be running the full x86 32 and 64 bit versions of Windows 8 so you'll need to cover them, too.

It depends on how you're writing your app. If you use the HTML5+JS framework or C#, you can write platform-neutral apps that will run on x86, x64, and ARM Windows 8 machines (including RT). You of course also have the option of specifically targeting one or more platform, which is good for games, but I would expect most apps will be platform neutral

That gets you down to two platforms -- Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8. The Windows Phone 8 SDK has yet to be released except to hand-picked developers under strict NDA, so nobody really knows what's in there yet. It could be binary-compatible with Windows 8. We just don't know.

Android for the first $1250 (-1, Flamebait)

tepples (727027) | about 2 years ago | (#41748279)

It's worth the pain still at this point to hit iOS first and Android afterwards, especially to make 3X to 4X revenue on iOS.

Unless one is in an early stage startup and needs the Android revenue to afford the $1250 startup cost for iOS development ($650 Mac mini, $500 iPad, $100 certificate).

Re:Android for the first $1250 (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41748371)

As far as costs of doing business goes, $1250 is a god damn bargain.

Really wish people would stop whining about $100 development certificate. It's a negligible cost in the face of the actual App development cost.

Re:Android for the first $1250 (-1)

js33 (1077193) | about 2 years ago | (#41748901)

As far as costs of doing business goes, $1250 is a god damn bargain.

Really wish people would stop whining about $100 development certificate. It's a negligible cost in the face of the actual App development cost.

Whatever you're selling, it's way too expensive if you can throw $1250 out the window as the "cost of doing business" as some freelancer developing an "app" that is supposed to run on some fiddly little device. The entire Apple ecosystem is way overpriced, from their consumer products to their stock, as well as all the little "apps" that run on those things. My pocketbook is staying firmly closed when it comes to anything Apple.

Maybe I'm old-fashioned, but I get my work done on a real PC on my desktop, and when I have to talk to someone on the phone, I use a land-line, because cell phone reception is insufferably poor, spotty, and unreliable out here in the boondocks. A cell phone is great to carry when I'm out and about town in case of emergency, but as a rule I buy the cheapest piece-of-junk cell phone I possibly can, and I interact with the thing as little as possible. I resent the idea that I'm supposed to waste so much of my time to fiddle with some little pocket device encumbered with a thousand patents to text and email people who don't have the time to communicate in real life---and I'd have to "jailbreak" the thing if I ever wanted to interact with it on my own terms anyway.

You need to look at the big picture of what you're developing apps for. Someday people will realize and learn to work with the inherent limitations of interfacing with a little piece-of-junk device that fits in your pocket, and then maybe it won't be so bad, but until then, please spare me the hype and all the stupid cutesy little "apps."

Re:Android for the first $1250 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41748423)

It's worth the pain still at this point to hit iOS first and Android afterwards, especially to make 3X to 4X revenue on iOS.

Unless one is in an early stage startup and needs the Android revenue to afford the $1250 startup cost for iOS development ($650 Mac mini, $500 iPad, $100 certificate).

FWIW, two out of those three items can be purchased used. Or you can buy last year's iPad new from Apple. You're also ignoring the price of a decent dev machine for Android in place of the Mac mini, which will probably be at least $500, and hardware with which to test the android app, which will be at least $200. Even in a very cash-strained environment, it still makes the most sense to shell out for a Mac mini and an iPad.

Rather than buy all new hardware, I took a longer-term approach and transitioned to a MBP when my old machine gave up the ghost. I wasn't ready to start developing for iOS yet at the time, but I knew I'd want to in the near future. And I knew I didn't want to buy a Mac mini just for that purpose.

Re:Android for the first $1250 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41748453)

My android dev experience was far more expensive than my iOS experience because the Android simulator is so awful that I ended up having to buy a Galaxy Tab 10.1.

Re:Android for the first $1250 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41748443)

Refurbs are your friend and half of apps could probably get away with testing only on the emulators that come with xcode, or an ipod touch. Refurb minis come through in batches every week, but sometimes they sell out fast.
Refurb mini: $569
Refurb ipod touch: $179
Developer program: $99
Total: $847
Oh, and don't forget that you won't need a whole separate PC for Android and Windows development, just a copy of Windows.

I'm not an Apple fan, but it wasn't hard to justify the expense, and I could even put it all on my credit card without going over my credit limit.

Re:Android for the first $1250 (5, Insightful)

jtownatpunk.net (245670) | about 2 years ago | (#41748503)

Unless one is in an early stage startup and needs the Android revenue to afford the $1250 startup cost for iOS development ($650 Mac mini, $500 iPad, $100 certificate).

Dude, if you can't afford to invest $1250 in your startup, you can't afford to invest in your startup. The guy who rides the ice cream bike around the 'hood had a higher startup cost what with the custom cooler-bike, dry ice, ice cream, and business license.

Who starts with a Windows box? (3, Insightful)

SuperKendall (25149) | about 2 years ago | (#41748589)

Unless one is in an early stage startup and needs the Android revenue to afford the $1250 startup cost for iOS development ($650 Mac mini, $500 iPad, $100 certificate).

Most people already have a Mac laptop quite capable of developing iOS apps.

That Android development is not free either by the same logic; you need SOME computer for that and in fact to make Eclipse tolerable it better have a goodly amount of RAM and a fast processor.

And you list $500 for an iPad - why? Brand new iPads start at $400, and you can get refurb or used iPad 2 units for less - never mind the new iPad mini which would serve just as well... or an iPod touch which is even less.

I would argue if you were doing any serious Android development you'd be spending a hell of a lot more for test devices. Otherwise if you aren't serious you can also ship to the Apple app store without testing on a single real device either.

Re:Android for the first $1250 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41748687)

>> Unless one is in an early stage startup and needs the Android revenue to afford the $1250 startup cost for iOS development ($650 Mac mini, $500 iPad, $100 certificate).

A great way to weed out the idiots. If you can't afford that how exactly are you going to afford to eat for the first 2 years while your business doesn't make money?

Re:Yes, it sucks (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41748693)

I can tell you from going through numerous reviews that it's a terribly inconsistent process and has lead to a lot of frustration. I've been denied before for extremely petty reasons, only to get through on the 3rd or 4th try. Good luck trying to get an idea of how long it will take also. It has taken 45 days or longer from initial submission to being 'ready for sale'. I understand they want to keep control of their market, but their denials really interfere with my motivation to continue developing on their platform.

However, on Android I've made far far less revenue on the same apps, only to see my app get 'returned' daily and probably pirated. It's worth the pain still at this point to hit iOS first and Android afterwards, especially to make 3X to 4X revenue on iOS. It's why I hope Microsoft's approvals for Win 8 and RT can be somewhere in the middle.

Maybe your apps suck, that's why you see them getting "returned" daily.
Somehow I doubt that the swiftkey developers (who develop on Android) are seeing a lot of their app being returned. You know, code something that's useful and at a good price point and it will sell.

As for apps being pirated, you can an easily jailbreak an ipad/ipod/iwhatever and get "free" aps as well.
Apple users are not a measure of virtue.

Why? (1, Insightful)

Black Parrot (19622) | about 2 years ago | (#41748123)

Why is everyone clamoring for an opportunity to support The Beast?

If you hate the walled garden, don't ask to be let in.

Re:Why? (4, Insightful)

geekboybt (866398) | about 2 years ago | (#41748159)

That's simple: the walled garden is where the money is.

Re:Why? (3, Informative)

narcc (412956) | about 2 years ago | (#41748335)

If only that were true...

Sure, if your app is a hit, there's no better place to be.

Unfortunately, 2/3's of iOS apps have never been downloaded, and less than 1% of iOS apps earn over $1000.

Re:Why? (2)

geekboybt (866398) | about 2 years ago | (#41748523)

App authors can also expect a greater payout from iOS compared with Android, with Apple's mobile operating system delivering developers four times the revenue as their Android counterpart per user, Flurry found.

http://news.cnet.com/8301-13579_3-57449358-37/ios-still-tops-android-with-app-developers/ [cnet.com]

I don't disagree with you at all; there's tons of apps that are, frankly, garbage. But even if your app is genuinely good, given the amount of "noise" in the store, you must also get lucky to be seen and discovered amongst all of the junk.

Re:Why? (1)

evil_aaronm (671521) | about 2 years ago | (#41748539)

Could those low numbers be due to poor marketing? Poor usefulness? No real problem to solve? I could write an app that just stay black, and it may be so black that there was none more black, but it would still be a completely useless app. Hey, I'm now inspired. Coming soon to the App Store: None More Black!

Re:Why? (1)

noh8rz9 (2716595) | about 2 years ago | (#41748567)

links or it didnt happen. I haven't seen any data on the long tail of app downloads, either in terms of download or revenue. i did a fish test and didn't see any apps with no reviews. therefore, i didnt see any app that hadnt been used.

Very fishy stats.... (3, Insightful)

SuperKendall (25149) | about 2 years ago | (#41748657)

Unfortunately, 2/3's of iOS apps have never been downloaded, and less than 1% of iOS apps earn over $1000.

I highly doubt both of those figures.

I know a lot of friends (and myself) who make niche apps, apps they do not advertise and you would never have heard of. All of them have made over $1000 on the apps they make, and there are quite a few other companies making high profile apps that are obviously making a lot of money. There's no way that only ~7500 apps have made over $1k.

In fact this article makes a good case that the number of people making over $1k is more like 20% [daveaddey.com]

Also simply because of review sites and pirates (!), I would actually claim it is nearly impossible that 2/3 of iOS applications have never seen a single download.

It sounds like you are trying to spread FUD - I salute your effort as it makes life easier for us app developers, but I just can't let bad information sit without challenge.

Re:Very fishy stats.... (1)

narcc (412956) | about 2 years ago | (#41748753)

I haven't offered anything that you can't easily check for yourself. It's not FUD, it's just facts.

You can disagree because of your personal experience, that's fine. Forgive me if I dismiss that in favor of more scientific data.

Re:Very fishy stats.... (1)

Serious Callers Only (1022605) | about 2 years ago | (#41748863)

Please provide links to the stats, I'm sure we'd all love to see them.

I saw some stats once for iOS sales which were made up based on a lot of dodgy assumptions and one total sales figure, they were far from what you could call 'scientific'. As far as I know Apple have not released stats in this sort of detail, if they have it'd be really interesting to see them here.

Re:Very fishy stats.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41748877)

It is so scientific that it has no citations,

Re:Very fishy stats.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41748883)

I haven't offered anything that you can't easily check for yourself. It's not FUD, it's just facts.

You can disagree because of your personal experience, that's fine. Forgive me if I dismiss that in favor of more scientific data.

A figure you give isn't true until somebody else gives proof that it isn't. That is an appeal to ignorance.

In spite of this, I have taken to google, as you recommended in another post. For your figure of 2/3, I found a single article, about an
estimate done by a 3rd party, available here [appleinsider.com] . This is shotty, and not "scientific" -- no study is mentioned, it may just be a shot-in-the-dark estimate -- , but since this is the only source I am aware of, I'll concede that your first figure may be accurate.

For your 1% figure, I couldn't find anything to back this up. I tried multiple search terms, including: "iOS app revenue", "iOS 1% of apps","itunes top selling apps", and "itunes 1000 apps". Nada.

I love to hate on apple like everyone else. I proudly don't own a single apple device. But if you are going to hate them, hate them for real reasons, and not silly reasons based on contrived facts, and definitely don't talk down your nose to people that question your bold claims that lack citations.

Re:Why? (1)

capedgirardeau (531367) | about 2 years ago | (#41748871)

The other issue I have been told about by an iOS developer is that often time, if you have a somewhat successful app, a larger, better staffed and funded development house can just essentially copy it and push their version of your app to their existing installed user base.

Obviously this is second hand, but considering well known developers have been caught doing exactly that, I tend to believe him.

Re:Why? (1, Interesting)

mjwx (966435) | about 2 years ago | (#41748345)

That's simple: the walled garden is where the marketing is.

FTFY,

Most developers dont make back the $99/y fee to list their application let alone the cost of buying a Mac.

The only application developers making money are the developers making applications for those foolish enough to pay them, there is no money in selling direct to consumers.

The only mobile development business model that works is consulting, by selling their services as developers not by selling on the app store so in this regard profitability is platform independent (in fact Android is better as it has a longer development time, meaning more hours charged to the client).

Re:Why? (1)

evil_aaronm (671521) | about 2 years ago | (#41748555)

As far as apps go, if you're writing something that no one wants to buy, I don't think your platform is to blame.

Re:Why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41748185)

Short, simple answer.

Money.

If you get in on the Apple App store, you stand to make far more money than you do on the equivalent in the Android space. This alone makes up for a great many sins, at least from the perspective of the developers.

Re:Why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41748213)

Quite simply, to get paid.

You see, 99% of all apps are utter useless shite. That's for both iOS and Android. So, the developers prefer iOS because they get paid, and it really doesn't matter to them whether you subsequently use their shitty app or not.

The guys with the good stuff, can easily make as much money on Google Play as they do on iTunes. The guys with shit you install and use for 2 days before deleting or ignoring it, their only choice is iTunes.

Re:Why? (3, Funny)

MichaelSmith (789609) | about 2 years ago | (#41748247)

Why is everyone clamoring for an opportunity to support The Beast?

They stabbed it with their steely knives but they Just Can't Kill The Beast, so its still the best game in town.

Re:Why? (2)

Guy Harris (3803) | about 2 years ago | (#41748353)

They stabbed it with their steely knives but they Just Can't Kill The Beast, so its still the best game in town.

If your app is approved, do they serve you pink champagne on ice?

Re:Why? (2)

MichaelSmith (789609) | about 2 years ago | (#41748449)

Of course. We are all just prisoners here, of our own device.

Re:Why? (1)

Black Parrot (19622) | about 2 years ago | (#41748501)

Of course. We are all just prisoners here, of our own device.

Hotel California: what you get when you breed Stairway to Heaven and The Rocky Horror Picture Show.

Re:Why? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41748341)

Because they read stories on yahoo about kids who don't even know how to code making half a million a year selling cheat codes for popular games wrapped in an 'app'.

Anecdote. I have a friend with an iPhone. He asked me "Did you have to pay a dollar for Bad Piggies?" I replied "No, it was free. Is it a dollar on the iPhone?" He then looked sad. I felt a little sorry for him.

Re:Why? (1)

ThatsMyNick (2004126) | about 2 years ago | (#41748709)

It is like complaining about government procurement process and bureaucracy. It is true that one can opt to not try and get government contracts. But it is still a valid complaint. Making the process unpredictable and unnecessarily cumbersome does not really help any one.

Because they think it is the path to money (1)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | about 2 years ago | (#41748793)

If an app hits big on the app store, you can make a ton of money. iPhone users have the well earned reputation of being a spendy bunch. The reason Rovio are billionaires is because of the app store, because people decided they liked Angry Birds on it.

Combine that with the fact that Apple is generally very hip and trendy now. They are a fashion company, as much as a consumer electronics company. The in thing is to own and be seen with the newest Apple toy.

So tons of people rush in. They believe it is the way to make money. For a few of them, that ends up being right.

Re:Because they think it is the path to money (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41748939)

No, "The reason Rovio are billionaires is because" they're one of the 1% who actually code decent games. Whether you like Angry Birds or not you cannot deny that for whatever reason, it's a hit. I have absolutely no idea how much they're making off advertising on the free version but I'd stake my life on it being on par if not more, than the paid version.

Now, probably because despite the profits some bean counter is sitting yelling at them "MOAR! MOAR!", they're trying out the Zynga method of monetisation, powerups you have to buy - but to their credit, unlike Zynga they haven't made the game impossible without them.

Huh? (0)

cheater512 (783349) | about 2 years ago | (#41748169)

"also provides excellent development tools for coding, testing, debugging, and distribution for free along with your developer subscription ($99/yr)."

Wtf is he smoking. They aren't free tools. They are $99/yr tools. He said it right there.

Re:Huh? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41748195)

To be fair, you can download the tools for free; the $99 fee is only really required to submit things to the app store

Re:Huh? (1)

cheater512 (783349) | about 2 years ago | (#41748285)

Ah so here is a free car, but it is $30,000 for the engine.

I can see that marketing campaign really take off.

Re:Huh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41748483)

No, it's more like the car is free but you have to pay annual license and registration if you want to drive it.

Re:Huh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41748541)

No the car is free, you can also drive it for free. If you want to drive it a specific toll road then you pay the toll.

Re:Huh? (2, Informative)

evil_aaronm (671521) | about 2 years ago | (#41748565)

Not true. You get the compiler and debugger for free with which you can create all of the apps you want. You can also upload your own iOS apps that you write to your own iOS device. If you want to sell to others, then you need to pay the entry fee.

So, your car, your engine. If you want to provide livery service, then you need a license.

how to upload to own device? (4, Informative)

Chirs (87576) | about 2 years ago | (#41748747)

Last time I looked I was unable to find a way to upload an app that I wrote to my mom's iPhone without a developer license (or jailbreaking the phone, which wasn't an option since it was a work phone).

Re:Huh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41748741)

To be fair, you can download the tools for free; the $99 fee is only really required to submit things to the app store

You can download the tools for free and do nothing with them UNLESS you pay 99$ a year to be able to put your app on the fucking mobile apple device. Otherwise you're just coding to make your app run on an emulator on your mac. Which is just stupid.

So no, the tools are not free.

Re:Huh? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41748919)

You can write Mac apps, or compile open source software, use Xcode as a text editor, etc...

All things I use the dev tools for without paying to enter the developer program.

If I did pay the money to enter the dev program I get privileges like, pre-release versions of the OS's, pre-release versions of the dev tools, access to the stores, etc...

Re:Huh? (1)

feedayeen (1322473) | about 2 years ago | (#41748197)

"also provides excellent development tools for coding, testing, debugging, and distribution for free along with your developer subscription ($99/yr)."

Wtf is he smoking. They aren't free tools. They are $99/yr tools. He said it right there.

Now that you pay $99/year for it, it's free. Just like my car, computer, and all of my assets except for, no, even utilities are free once I pay for them.

Re:Huh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41748199)

He say's it's free because it's free.
https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/xcode/id497799835?mt=12 [apple.com]

Mac-exclusive (0)

tepples (727027) | about 2 years ago | (#41748309)

But you need to buy a Mac first, not use the computer you already have. Equivalently, Xcode costs $650 and comes with a free computer [apple.com] .

Re:Mac-exclusive (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41748395)

VMWare, yo.

Re:Mac-exclusive (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41748525)

But you need to buy a Mac first, not use the computer you already have.

Just use the Mac you already have. That's what I did.

Eclipse and Linux are damn expensive then (1, Insightful)

SuperKendall (25149) | about 2 years ago | (#41748745)

But you need to buy a Mac first, not use the computer you already have.

I salute you as being the only person on the planet born with a PC attached to your ass.

The rest of us have to buy SOME computer, no matter what program we wish to run.

Long ago most technical folk switched to buying Mac laptops, so most of them can in fact use the computer they already have...

Re:Huh? (2)

ATMAvatar (648864) | about 2 years ago | (#41748207)

$99/yr plus the cost of a mac to program it on.

Re:Huh? (1)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | about 2 years ago | (#41748809)

Ya my co-worker hit that problem. I don't remember the details as to why, but he was looking at iPhone app development. Someone asked him to do something or the like (he's a Linux sysadmin by trade). However a stumbling block to this is lacking a Mac. They aren't precisely cheap devices to get your hands on. Cheapest you can find is $600 for a Mac Mini, which does not feature $600 worth of hardware.

A former co-worker actually ran in to the same thing, and ended up getting a Mac as part of a contract. A guy had hired him to do various web development as a side job, that paid reasonably well. He then wanted an iOS app developed. My co-worker tried OS-X in VMWare but it didn't work well, so he told the guy "Fine I'll do it, but part of the contract is you have to buy me a Mac Mini up front, and I get to keep it." Guy went for it and all was well.

Does provide a bit more of a cost/barrier for entry though, if you aren't already a Mac person.

Re:Huh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41748321)

No, XCode (the tools) are free. $99 is for the iOS developer program (the distribution part), but you can download XCode without signing up for this.
It is, however, significantly inferior to Visual Studio + Visual Assist, so the "excellent" part is, IMHO, not exactly true. :)

Re:Huh? (1)

phantomfive (622387) | about 2 years ago | (#41748771)

Wtf is he smoking. They aren't free tools. They are $99/yr tools. He said it right there.

My iOS development for the last year has been exclusively for jailbroken devices. I haven't paid a cent to Apple for dev tools.

They don't need you (1, Insightful)

Gothmolly (148874) | about 2 years ago | (#41748183)

Apple is dealing from a position of strength. They don't need you.

Re:They don't need you (0)

darkfeline (1890882) | about 2 years ago | (#41748331)

Apple is in a position of strength because developers (pay to) write apps for it. Sure, it doesn't "need" you, but one day when its policies drive all the devs to greener pastures, Apple will be forced to face reality.

Re:They don't need you (1)

mjwx (966435) | about 2 years ago | (#41748365)

Apple is dealing from a position of strength. They don't need you.

This is a great excuse, until you realise that Apple's strength is derived from the applications others have written for it.

Apple is not like Google where there is a series of services behind the OS (Gmail, YouTube, Maps) that customers rely on (realistically, without Google integrating Maps and Gmail into Android, it would not be doing half as well as it is now).

Re:They don't need you (2)

iCEBaLM (34905) | about 2 years ago | (#41748615)

This is a great excuse, until you realise that Apple's strength is derived from the applications others have written for it.

Not so, actually. iOS devices were hits before they even allowed native apps to run on them.

Apple's already got fart apps and Angry Birds... (1)

Andy Prough (2730467) | about 2 years ago | (#41748187)

...what else do they really need? Might as well be selective with the rest of the cruft.

Worst Part? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41748201)

I thought the worst part was the 30% they take off the top.

Re:Worst Part? (1)

tlhIngan (30335) | about 2 years ago | (#41748879)

I thought the worst part was the 30% they take off the top.

For its price, 30% is fairly cheap in the end. Amazon takes 50+% off the top for books (standard wholesale rates - why do you think Amazon can always offer books 30% off?), and probably very similar things happen for eBooks. We know it's about 30% for eBooks under $10, and it's more over $10 (to encourage people to price books at under $10), easily 50% or higher.

Microsoft and Sony charge more for their stores and DLC. I can't tell you about Steam, but it's probably less, mostly because they don't have to recoup 30 cents + 1-5% off 99 cents (when you sell for $10+, 30 cents per transaction plus 1-5% of transaction value isn't much). Though I suppose it'll probably change if Steam gets a bunch of 99 cent apps and Valve starts having to subsidize transaction fees (usually there's a table of fees - like if it's below $5, it's 30%, if it's below $10, it's say, 20%, etc).

Of course, the difficulties in hosting a bunch of apps (most of which are free so cost you money per download) plus the maintenance of all the equipment and the necessary security (PCI-DSS, even moreso because you're storing a LOT of personal data so people can buy in the future without re-entry of credit cards).

And gift cards... free money on interest, except well, considering iTunes cards are routinely 20% off ($50 iTunes card for $40) means the retailer's profit and Apple's expenses are paid from the leftover 10% (probalby 50-50).

If it was easy, then why are only the big guys hosting stores - if you can run an Android app store taking only 10% off the top, you should be a big hit.

As for the store where 1% make money - Apple paid out $6.5B to developers. If only 7000 apps made money (1% of roughly 700,000 apps), that's over $900,000 that each of those 7,000 apps made. So you have a 1% of getting a million bucks for say, a $2000 investiment. If you try 100 times, that's $200,000 in new equipment, to get $900,000. That seems like a risk. Or it could just be faulty numbers. Sure people may claim 1% of apps make money, but if it was true, it's well worth the risk. Even as a VC I can see if I can invest in 100 app companies for $2000 hardware to get 1 of them earning 900K, that's an extremely good value proposition. So the numbers are faulty, because we know a handful made over $1M, and most apps probably make a few thousand dollars (the ones that require payment - upfront or in-app).

And app store or no - there is always a need to do marketing and advertising. You can't put it up and they will come - you must advertise. Sorry, but if people don't know if your app exists, they can't find it. Word of mouth, send some review copies around, etc. We are not yet in an age where advertising and marketing are superfluous, no matter what anybody says. (And yes, being on the front page of iTunes or featured apps are marketing as well.)

HERE'S A NOVEL IDEA !! DO NOT PUBLISH CRAP APPS !! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41748219)

And ye shall overcome !!

Re:HERE'S A NOVEL IDEA !! DO NOT PUBLISH CRAP APPS (1)

topham (32406) | about 2 years ago | (#41748315)

This.

I've personally developed and released multiple apps, and each app has had updates shortly after release. One was a rather embarrassing oversight. I didn't blame Apple, I blamed myself. I also used their expedite service to request a quick review for the update and was granted the expedited review. The updated application was approved within 2 days using that process. Apples process is frustrating, and can be extreemly aggravating, but I have to wonder how come they didn't have an application + iPad to use for their demo/tutorial. Creating an Adhoc version, as well as a corporate signed version are easy enough under restricted circumstances. (You can't distribute to everyone that way, but you can get it up and working on multiple devices so your client can review and test and train).

Multi-thousand-dollar app (1)

tepples (727027) | about 2 years ago | (#41748325)

It's not necessarily "crap" as much as a refusal to offer a very expensive service (as in "if you have to ask you can't afford it" expensive) through Apple's in-app payment infrastructure.

This is why iPADS are not business ready (1, Insightful)

fluffy99 (870997) | about 2 years ago | (#41748281)

The cited IT World article (http://www.itworld.com/it-consumerization/306090/apple-ios-app-review-frustrating-and-bad-your-health) is a lesson in why you don't try to use iPAD as an enterprise platform for home-grown specialized software. You simply don't have enough control over the device or the ability to get the software onto the device. Need to update the app in real time, you are at the mercy of Apple regardless of how nit-picky you think the reviewers are.

Re:This is why iPADS are not business ready (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41748387)

Um. No. It's simple to set up enterprise distribution with your provisioning profile, which will allow you install any of your signed apps on any of your devices. You can even push the apps OTA.

Have a clue before you make stuff up.

Mod parent up (4, Informative)

immaterial (1520413) | about 2 years ago | (#41748895)

AC is right on about the enterprise distribution system. No Apple App Store involved.

Re:This is why iPADS are not business ready (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41748511)

Read this [apple.com]

Re:This is why iPADS are not business ready (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41748719)

Er, no.

Anything remotely enterprise and you point the ipad at your server

Re:This is why iPADS are not business ready (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41748891)

Anything remotely enterprise and you point the ipad at your server

$299 / year. Non-US companies cannot subscribe.

Re:This is why iPADS are not business ready (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41748765)

Summary of your comment: "I don't know what I'm talking about."

Web App? (1, Interesting)

R3d M3rcury (871886) | about 2 years ago | (#41748287)

The interesting thing mentioned in the article is that they have both a web app and an iPad app.

How impossible would it be to just have a web app? Then you can update to your hearts delight and don't have to deal with Apple. Users can easily put it on their iPads. There are even some "tricks" you can use to work better on the iPad, I believe (common gestures, etc.).

Re:Web App? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41748593)

How impossible would it be to just have a web app? Then you can update to your hearts delight and don't have to deal with Apple.

Then nobody will use it. Web apps suck.

Re:Web App? (2)

circletimessquare (444983) | about 2 years ago | (#41748689)

the app has to still work, even when there's no network connection. "always online" is not an option yet

Summary: app developer breaks rules, is denied. (4, Insightful)

whoever57 (658626) | about 2 years ago | (#41748293)

The App Store deemed that we were forcing the user to make a purchase away from the app store in order to use the app, which is partly true.

The article does not describe any actions they take to make the above not true, so it appears that they broke Apple's rules. What can they expect?

Re:Summary: app developer breaks rules, is denied. (1)

Quarters (18322) | about 2 years ago | (#41748467)

Exactly. I can almost forgive them for the mistake with the word 'encryption' in the metadata. The rest of the rejections were clearly for not following the rules. Disliking the rules is one thing. Complaining because you can't talk to someone to get a waiver for those rules is something completely different. The majority of this article can be summarized as "We did X, which we know wasn't allowed and were surprised when Apple rejected our poor little app. Then in order to fix X we did Y, which we also know wasn't allowed. Yet again we were surprised when our poor little app was rejected." I'm sorry, but if you want your app to run natively on the iPad/Pod/Phone you need to make it compliant to Apple's rules. That the developer was not following the guidelines while creating this app for a paying client speaks quite a bit towards the quality of work one can expect from that team.

Re:Summary: app developer breaks rules, is denied. (2)

Pesticidal (1148911) | about 2 years ago | (#41748679)

He also broke the rules by complaining about Apple's procedures openly on the internet. I think he can expect to see his developer certificate revoked soon.

It doesn't matter if your little app gets accepted (-1, Troll)

narcc (412956) | about 2 years ago | (#41748307)

2/3's of the apps in Apple's App Store have never been downloaded.

Less than 1% of iOS apps earn over $1000 in sales.

Think about that.

  Does it really matter if your app gets rejected?

Re:It doesn't matter if your little app gets accep (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41748549)

2/3's of the apps in Apple's App Store have never been downloaded ... Less than 1% of iOS apps earn over $1000 in sales ....

Where did you get these numbers from? I'm aware that the situation with regards to app success rates is bad but is it really this bad?

Re:It doesn't matter if your little app gets accep (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41748653)

It's really really hard to compete against the other fart and flashlight apps.

Re:It doesn't matter if your little app gets accep (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41748655)

Wouldn't most people download their own app at least once just to see it work? Or convince a friend/relative to download the app?

Re:It doesn't matter if your little app gets accep (1)

tooyoung (853621) | about 2 years ago | (#41748715)

You've made this comment twice now on this story (once receiving an up-mod), yet you've failed to provide a source. The following source states that there are 700,000 apps [techcrunch.com] in the App Store. By you're numbers, that would mean that only 7,000 apps have ever broken the $1,000 mark. Now, I can only offer anecdotal evidence , but apparently I know many cream of the crop app developers.

Re:It doesn't matter if your little app gets accep (0)

narcc (412956) | about 2 years ago | (#41748767)

I made this post first, figured that it would get ignored, and restated the point in a discussion where it was relevant. I don't like it either, but it happens sometimes.

A quick google search can confirm the figures I offered.

Re:It doesn't matter if your little app gets accep (1)

1u3hr (530656) | about 2 years ago | (#41748825)

A quick google search can confirm the figures I offered.

So why don't you do that and cite your source?

Maybe I've been on Wikipedia too long. There, I'd just revert such a statement that appeared, repeatedly (twice now) in an article with no source.

Re:It doesn't matter if your little app gets accep (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41748799)

My brother is NOT a programmer, however he is good at design.

He has two little apps for children on the App Store which earn him $100-$150 per month. The first app took him about 50 hours, the second was much quicker due to his increased familiarity with the dev software.

A waste of time? If you're earning 6 figures up, perhaps. But he enjoyed writing the apps, and his kids enjoy playing them. The money is not big but it's a nice little bonus every month. It's lucky he doesn't read slashdot, or he would have probably never tried.

I would be astonished if he really was in the top 1% of app developers - a citation for those statistics would be nice.

Re:It doesn't matter if your little app gets accep (1)

NoMaster (142776) | about 2 years ago | (#41748851)

Think about that.

I thought about that, and came to the conclusion it sounded like BS.

So I googled around, and the closest I could come up with is a recent press release from a new advertising metrics / mobile analytics startup that is - surprise, surprise! - pushing their own AppStore analysis tool.

And that report doesn't say "never been downloaded" at all - it says (to paraphrase their press release) that only 1/3 of the apps hold a rank in the top 300 of their category (43 categories), and the other 2/3 don't rank "any visible position at all" (i.e. they're not in the top 300), and surmise from that figure that "these apps hardly generate any downloads".

Bit of a jump from that to your claim of "never been downloaded", isn't it?

I wont give the marketing scum's name or website - if anyone wants to find the original details they can google for themselves, follow the trail back to the source, and read the original press release.

Apple banned my app (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41748357)

My app is called B Book (appstore name) which stands for booty book. They made the process a nightmare, but eventually I got it into the store.

fagorcZ (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41748407)

hmmm guess they didn't read the guidelines.. (1)

mikeskup (1337) | about 2 years ago | (#41748409)

you fail to follow the rules, then you complain about the rules???? brilliant!! just like bi&^hing about a speeding ticket!!

i got like 17 apps approved(search SkupTech in app store), only had on rejected, which I knew was a possibility when i made it....(too simple of mac app, had a nice fellow from apple call me to explain... no big deal..)

Wrong iPad deployment model... (1)

Jettamann (25050) | about 2 years ago | (#41748485)

Sounds like your targetted app client falls under the class of Enterprise.... so why not skip the app store entirely, keep 100% of the revenue and deploy directly to your verticle market customers directly using the Apple Enterprise licence model?

https://developer.apple.com/programs/ios/enterprise/ [apple.com]

Not all developers have the same problems (5, Informative)

rworne (538610) | about 2 years ago | (#41748495)

My experience with the app store has been totally different.

While I do embedded code for a living, I wanted to learn to write iOS apps. I am by no means a really good Obj-C programmer (but I am improving). My first hobby app suddenly looked like it might be marketable and I prepped it for app store submission.

When I got my one app rejection (on my first submission) I got an electronically generated letter that was sort of vague as to the reason. I responded to it, I got a response by a human in only an hour or two explaining in simpler terms what the issue was and what they expected. I resubmitted that afternoon and in a few days it was up and on sale. There have been no rejections over any of my subsequent updates.

I also had to push out an update about 4-5 days before the iOS 6 release due to a stupid coding error that iOS 6 would no longer let me get away with. It sat in the queue until iOS 6 was released then suddenly the app went from waiting, to in review to ready for sale in a few seconds. It came out when they did a dump of all the other iOS 6 apps. I suppose if an app has a certain number of sales and decent feedback they do not spend much time on it during reviews when crunch time is upon them. This has happened more than once - on the 5.0 update and the 4.0 update too.

Releasing at other times, I usually have 5-6 day waits. My last release (approved today) took a bit more than 8 days.

I have no complaints so far in my 2+ years on the app store.

Shut out by the garden walls (1)

Chairman Goodchild (2606679) | about 2 years ago | (#41748637)

When the iPhone first came out, I wrote a simple puzzle game with OpenGLES and attempted to get it approved for the App store. The process took months and was incredibly frustrating. Running the game the first time showed a demo of the high scores table. Rather than leave it empty, I populated the list with the names of great scientists that I admired.

The rejection letter said that I was is in violation of Section 3.3.12 from the iPhone SDK Agreement which states (as quoted directly from the rejection letter):

"Applications must not contain any obscene, pornographic, offensive or defamatory content or materials of any kind (text, graphics, images, photographs, etc.), or other content or materials that in Apple's reasonable judgement may be found objectionable by iPhone or iPod touch users."

Obscene? pornographic? offensive? Surely they had confused my app with someone else's. Of course it didn't take me long to realize the name that some would find 'offensive' and I was disgusted.

After I removed the name Charles Darwin from the high scores table, I was rejected again because I violated section 3.3.6 of the iPhone SDK Agreement:

"Any form of user or device data collection, or image, picture or voice capture or recording performed by the Application (collectively “Recordings”), and any form of user data, content or information uploading, syncing, or transmission performed by the Application [. . .] a reasonably conspicuous visual indicator must be displayed to the user as part of the Application to indicate that a Recording is taking place."

I couldn't even believe this when I read it. My app was totally local and didn't even open a network socket! Just who the hell was reviewing these things? I guess lawyers with no tech sense whatsoever.

I still like Apple products because they are in my opinion the best that's out there, but this experience really damaged my opinion of Apple as a company. And I certainly haven't bothered to do anymore iPhone development. I loved writing the code, but dealing with the walled garden was a truly depressing experience.

Re:Shut out by the garden walls (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41748817)

You may have solved yourself a lot of hastle just having an empty high score table to start with!! There's no need to populate the table with fake info as such, it looks kinda silly imo.

...stranglehold of Apple's protocol machine (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41748779)

It just works.

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