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?