Mac App Store

The Mac App Store, so far, has been pretty good for sales of Task Timer.  We have been running double of normal sales of the previous version.  Technically, version 5 was out before it was approved in the Mac App Store so that’s even more proof that the Mac App Store is doing well for us.  So from that aspect we are very happy with what we’ve seen from a sales standpoint from the Mac App Store.

What’s not very good is the amount of time it takes to get an application – even an application update – approved (or rejected) in the store.  We’ve been lucky that the few bugs that have been reported aren’t affecting everyone and aren’t critical.  We submitted our update on January 12th and didn’t receive a rejection until January 28th.  That’s 12 business days!

The rejection was from not linking properly to the HXRuntime library.  The problem and fix is documented on REAL Software’s blog.  What’s worse is that REAL Studio applications don’t even use this library so this is a false-positive result from some automated test that Apple implemented between our first second submissions.

I realize that we’re not generating a ton of sales from Task Timer so we’re not even a blip in Apples sales figures, but 12 days is an eternity when a customer has a problem.  They won’t complain to Apple, they’ll complain to me.  At the best I can offer customers to update outside of the Mac App Store but that’s a half-assed solution, in my opinion.  At worst, I’ll lose customers for life because I’m ‘unresponsive’ or write ‘crappy’ software.  I predict most people will be relatively forgiving but I think it depends on the cost of the software and what it does.

We are not the first and only developers to face this problem.  Panic, makers of the popular Transmit, had a similar issue that was thankfully taken care of quickly.  One has to wonder if a public blog post from a very popular developer didn’t speed things up a bit, but the point is that the process has a flaw.

I can’t believe that Apple is oblivious to this problem.  The wait times for app approval is just too long.

I’m not sure what the solution is.  All I know is that the current situation is not good for smaller, independent developers like me.  Wasn’t the Mac App Store supposed to be a boon for us?

Anyway, I’m not really all that angry.  I expect that approval times will get better as time goes on.  I would also expect that the automation tools they’re using internally will be available to developers for testing purposes (before submission) or, at the very least, some sort of automated testing submission process that, if not instantaneous, is light years faster than it is now.

What say you?

2 thoughts on “Mac App Store

  1. I honestly believe its the same kind of teething pains as the iPhone App Store. It isn’t perfect today, but it is far better than it used to be. I haven’t submitted to the Mac App Store yet, but from past earlier experience, I can say that I know your pain! Unfortunately I don’t see any other option but waiting for Apple to sort it out and make the process more efficient.

    That’s probably the worst feeling- knowing just how responsive we can be to issues when they are raised, but having a brick wall- that only someone else can…slowly move- in our way…

  2. I’ve been writing iPhone and iPad apps for more than a year, and things have gotten better. Recently I’ve been getting iPad apps approved in 2 days. I submitted 3 Mac store apps, 2 developed in RealBasic and 1 developed in xcode, and it’s already been 10 days and I haven’t heard a peep from Apple. It’s driving me crazy because I am anxious to find out how my REALbasic submissions go, since its so much easier to develop there (for the most part) as compared to xcode. I agree with Travis that its teething pains, but is that excusable after they have already run the iOS app store for 3 years? They must have had some idea of the staffing levels for reviewers they’d need and so on. I am more than willing to wait a week but I’ve even found some posts from people claiming they had to wait nearly a month. That is just unacceptable. But what are we going to do, Apple controls the all the access and opportunity, and in the end it works out really well for developers so I can’t complain too much.

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