Apple exec offers glimpse into App Store approval process

Posted:
in iPhone edited January 2014
As criticism of Apple's approval process for the iPhone App Store has persisted, company executive Phil Schiller has participated in an interview to defend the current system.



Schiller, the senior vice president for Worldwide Product Marketing at Apple, spoke with BusinessWeek just weeks after high-profile developer Joe Hewitt gained headlines for abandoning the iPhone. Hewitt said that he thought Apple could be "setting a horrible precedent for other software platforms" by mandating that all software be reviewed and approved.



In defense of his own company, Schiller said that the approval process guarantees a certain level of quality within the App Store. With about 10,000 applications submitted every week, he said Apple's important but difficult role is to ensure that the software available for download works as consumers would expect.



"We've built a store for the most part that people can trust," he said. "You and your family and friends can download applications from the store, and for the most part they do what you'd expect, and they get onto your phone, and you get billed appropriately, and it all just works."



The Apple executive went on to provide some insight into the approval process. He said that about 10 percent of rejections are due to inappropriate content, while the other 90 percent represents "technical fixes" for bugs and similar issues. And a small number of applications fall into a gray area where Apple is unsure what to do: One example was software that helped people cheat at casinos, which forced the Cupertino, Calif., company to study state and international laws.



Copyright issues also exist, as the development company Rogue Amoeba's recently publicized frustrations pointed out. Apple rejected the company's Airfoil application because it used pictures of products like the Mac and Apple TV.



The new interview isn't the first time Schiller has come out in defense of the App Store. This summer, he began personally e-mailing developers to respond to their concerns as bad press surrounding the App Store continued to mount.



Apple also recently added a feature to its Developer Center Web site that adds some transparency to the status of submitted applications. Developers can see where their application is in the review process through nine status levels including "in review," "ready for sale," and "rejected."
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 53
    daseindasein Posts: 139member
    ...doesn't care for corporate reasons really. He/she will abandon it when/if a more open platform comes around. People still write more software for Windows in spite of all the issues with viruses, etc... Schiller makes some good points, but Apple needs to redesign its developers' business model before other platforms/companies exploit this. I can't even load my own apps on my own phone without a hassle.
  • Reply 2 of 53
    One major differentiating factor between Apple and other platforms is the quality of the experience. I'd hate for Apple to open up the platform more thereby lowering the quality level.



    Personally I'd rather see Apple raise the quality level perhaps by increasing the price of entry - e.g. maybe they should make the developer program subscription $1,000 not $100.



    Btw, yes I have had apps rejected (and passed) - where rejected it was my own fault not Apple's.
  • Reply 3 of 53
    >> Btw, yes I have had apps rejected (and passed) - where rejected it was my own fault not Apple's.



    Maybe this is why you are biased. Try having a few apps rejected when it wasn't your fault.
  • Reply 4 of 53
    Despite the issues, it's a wild, runaway success. The iPhone is THE platform to develop for.
  • Reply 5 of 53
    I truly dislike the App Approval process. Although it may keep things more stable (though in some cases not really), I do not agree in the Apple censorship (I'm not talking about porn apps) and I wish that I could use what ever Apps I want without the risks of jail breaking. I don't mind paying for apps, I just want to be able to use what I want. (This is the main reason I'm in the market for a different mobile platform instead of my iPod Touch)



    This being said, I feel that if Apple wants to be fair to its developers, and to its customers, then it should open an App Store for the Mac OS X (aka: computer) platform. ALL software would have to go through the App Store process before being allowed onto the computer, then digitally signed. Any non-apple signed software would fail to run. This would eliminate any last bit of malware, increase stability of the OS, cut out redundancy with the OS core features, give customers a one stop shop for all their OS X needs, and make sure all Apps are built as best as possible (finally, we'd have a functioning Adobe Flash Player!) and have a built in testing for all OS X apps! OS X developers would have to shell out $1,000 or more to have their apps reviewed, tested, and released via the App store.



    Makes sense to me, perhaps something we'll see in 10.7? If you think its a bad idea, then why is the iPhone App Store approval process a good idea?
  • Reply 6 of 53
    Apple really should improve this aspect of the iPhone.



    The only comparable vetting model like this is the way console games are vetted by Microsoft and Sony. The developer pays for the testing process, and the rigorous testing is thorough and consistent.



    The Apple model is anything but.



    Much of the technical testing of applications could be done by an automated testing procedure.

    If this could be done within Apple, the same test procedure could be available to developers.



    The process simply does not make sense.



    When any web-based application can access objectionable content on the Web, what is the point of vetting applications for content? Let developers classify their content by age - and then only test applications which are for children.



    At the moment, it is not really helping Apple, it's not helping developers and it is not helping customers.



    C.
  • Reply 7 of 53
    djintxdjintx Posts: 454member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by camroidv27 View Post


    I truly dislike the App Approval process. Although it may keep things more stable (though in some cases not really), I do not agree in the Apple censorship (I'm not talking about porn apps) and I wish that I could use what ever Apps I want without the risks of jail breaking. I don't mind paying for apps, I just want to be able to use what I want. (This is the main reason I'm in the market for a different mobile platform instead of my iPod Touch)



    This being said, I feel that if Apple wants to be fair to its developers, and to its customers, then it should open an App Store for the Mac OS X (aka: computer) platform. ALL software would have to go through the App Store process before being allowed onto the computer, then digitally signed. Any non-apple signed software would fail to run. This would eliminate any last bit of malware, increase stability of the OS, cut out redundancy with the OS core features, give customers a one stop shop for all their OS X needs, and make sure all Apps are built as best as possible (finally, we'd have a functioning Adobe Flash Player!) and have a built in testing for all OS X apps! OS X developers would have to shell out $1,000 or more to have their apps reviewed, tested, and released via the App store.



    Makes sense to me, perhaps something we'll see in 10.7? If you think its a bad idea, then why is the iPhone App Store approval process a good idea?



    Oooh, this was a clever trick. You had me thinking about this issue in terms of OS X, but then you pulled the curtain back and you were really talking about the iPhone the whole time. Well played sir. As an avid and forthright supporter of Apple and the closed iPhone app ecosystem let me just say...thanks for opening my eyes. I now completely agree with you.



    Let's tear down the wall of oppression that Apple erected when they launched the app store! Woo hoo!
  • Reply 8 of 53
    I am an iPhone developer myself and have submitted to the App Store.



    This is good news to my ears, I welcome the improvements they are trying to bring about.

    My biggest complaint however is how slow the process is. Approving apps should take days or a week instead of months. They are on the right track by trying to automate this process. Make the process faster please !



    Another thing to tackle is how the review of an App works. Negative reviews can kill an app prematurely and it is too easy to discredit an app from a competitor. It happened to me. The developer should have a way to respond to false allegations.



    As for people complaining that the iPhone is not an open platform well just wait until Android get its first porn/virus or any other crap that comes with being open and not having a gatekeeper. At a certain point, Android will have its share of controversy too and I bet you it will be worse.



    I think Apple fundamentally understands that they need to keep developers happy to ensure that the iPhone remains a vibrant and dominant platform. Hopefully, they learned their lesson from the windows era. The bottom line: improve the dev. tools, improve the process and make sure the developers can earn a living out of it. Open source is fun and all but it does not pay the bill...



    So here is an idea: Apple should implement its own ad service in the wake of Google buying AdMob. Google will use AdMob to increase the number of free apps on the Android platform because they can win the numbers game and compensate the developers at the same time.

    Apple, it is time to go into the ad business. But this is another topic...
  • Reply 9 of 53
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by dasein View Post


    ...doesn't care for corporate reasons really. He/she will abandon it when/if a more open platform comes around. People still write more software for Windows in spite of all the issues with viruses, etc... Schiller makes some good points, but Apple needs to redesign its developers' business model before other platforms/companies exploit this. I can't even load my own apps on my own phone without a hassle.





    They'll abandon it when a more open platform comes around???



    If that were true then Linux would be the most dominant OS on computers which it isn't. They'll (the developers) will abandon it if it becomes unprofitable to create apps.



    Then you contradict yourself when you use your "Windows" argument. Windows is not an open OS. The reason people develop for it is because it is the dominant computer OS. If you've got a good app your guaranteed to make money if you make a windows version simply because Ms has captured 90% market share.



    Schiller's point is that Apple has created an environment with the iPhone/iPod touch and the app store which eliminates all of the virus and functionality problems you see with the Windows environment at the cost of a small mount of control on the users end.



    Your "hassle" doesn't really matter. It's only the insignificant hacker community that gives a crap about jailbreaking their phones. The majority of iPhone/iPod touch users aren't interested in installing jail-broken apps on their device. As long as that stays true and Apple continues to rapidly grow their market share you will be SOL my friend. Go live in the Android world and stop bitching to people who are happy with their devices and that don't really give a crap about your individual problems.
  • Reply 10 of 53
    gazoobeegazoobee Posts: 3,754member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by dasein View Post


    ...doesn't care for corporate reasons really. He/she will abandon it when/if a more open platform comes around. People still write more software for Windows in spite of all the issues with viruses, etc... Schiller makes some good points, but Apple needs to redesign its developers' business model before other platforms/companies exploit this. I can't even load my own apps on my own phone without a hassle.



    I think you're extrapolating your own preferences into those of "customers" in general.



    It's just not true for instance that customers in general care about "openness." This is a concern of developers, techies, probably yourself etc. but not "customers" unless like Microsoft does, you consider your customers to be corporations and developers.



    You talk about your inability to load your own apps on the iPhone without a hassle, without seeing the obvious which is that the average customer doesn't make apps and doesn't need to do that. This is another "developer concern" not a customer concern. It's also not really a concern for developers because of course you *can* test your own apps on your own iPhone quite easily, you just have to pay a tiny bit to be part of the developer program. This is all completely reasonable and normal.



    Your issues are the issues of a developer and Apple doesn't actually make products for developers (although they are very nice and very accommodating in general to them). Apple makes products for real live consumers, the average end user is their focus.



    If as a developer, you had the same focus, you'd make better software, and you wouldn't really be that upset about a few restrictions on the iPhone and app store because you would see the reasoning behind it.
  • Reply 11 of 53
    oomuoomu Posts: 128member
    of course, you can pay apple to have the key to sign and you can do ANYTHING YOU want on YOUR iphone (or any iphone you sign)



    it's not that expensive, you can use all apple tools, and tweak YOUR iphone with ANY software you create.



    you are NOT force to use the app store for your own software on your own iphone. you can hack.



    You are free to hack, tweak, break your iphone. Your iphone is your iphone.





    -

    well, I would like apple to give free private-use certificate, with no access to the app store, for people for their own device. it would be free, no hotline, no app store, just you and your iphone and whatever binary you sign.



    Some people would sign anything and have virus ? too bad for them. Some people would sell software to courageous hacker knowing how to sign their binary ? good for them.





    People who don't want to hassle with all of that will use the good official and clean store : the apple app store.



    it would be nice.





    For now, it's important to admit than hack and openness are a developer concern.



    For end-users, the point is moot : there are softwares.
  • Reply 12 of 53
    teckstudteckstud Posts: 6,476member
    Interesting to hear someone weasel out of explaining censorship.
  • Reply 13 of 53
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by camroidv27 View Post


    I truly dislike the App Approval process. Although it may keep things more stable (though in some cases not really), I do not agree in the Apple censorship (I'm not talking about porn apps) and I wish that I could use what ever Apps I want without the risks of jail breaking. I don't mind paying for apps, I just want to be able to use what I want. (This is the main reason I'm in the market for a different mobile platform instead of my iPod Touch)



    This being said, I feel that if Apple wants to be fair to its developers, and to its customers, then it should open an App Store for the Mac OS X (aka: computer) platform. ALL software would have to go through the App Store process before being allowed onto the computer, then digitally signed. Any non-apple signed software would fail to run. This would eliminate any last bit of malware, increase stability of the OS, cut out redundancy with the OS core features, give customers a one stop shop for all their OS X needs, and make sure all Apps are built as best as possible (finally, we'd have a functioning Adobe Flash Player!) and have a built in testing for all OS X apps! OS X developers would have to shell out $1,000 or more to have their apps reviewed, tested, and released via the App store.



    Makes sense to me, perhaps something we'll see in 10.7? If you think its a bad idea, then why is the iPhone App Store approval process a good idea?



    Here are the problems with that. World wide the Mac market share is maybe 2% which is still just a blip on the radar. Apple doesn't have the leverage to force this on the Mac community (MS does and it would probably benefit windows much more). It would probably destroy app development on the mac if they tried this. Which brings me to my next point. this malware problem you speak of simply doesn't exist with OSX the way it does with windows.There have been no known viruses/worms on OSX. Third, you'd force users to expend their bandwidth to download large apps to their computers.



    That being said I can see Apple incorporating more security elements into their future releases of OSX which would force developers to make their Mac software more security savy especially since they hired a security expert that specializes in this type of technology.



    http://www.appleinsider.com/articles...ed_critic.html
  • Reply 14 of 53
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by DJinTX View Post


    Well played sir.



    I believe you mean "Ma'am"
  • Reply 15 of 53
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by teckstud View Post


    Interesting to hear someone weasel out of explaining censorship.



    People like you seem to throw the word censorship out there like some blind guy pissing in the wind. You toss it out there and wait to see if it hits anything and when it does the hilarity ensues. I sure would like to hear you explain it... because I really think you can't.
  • Reply 16 of 53
    daseindasein Posts: 139member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by gimpymw View Post




    Schiller's point is that Apple has created an environment with the iPhone/iPod touch and the app store which eliminates all of the virus and functionality problems you see with the Windows environment at the cost of a small mount of control on the users end.



    Your "hassle" doesn't really matter. It's only the insignificant hacker community that gives a crap about jailbreaking their phones. The majority of iPhone/iPod touch users aren't interested in installing jail-broken apps on their device. As long as that stays true and Apple continues to rapidly grow their market share you will be SOL my friend. Go live in the Android world and stop bitching to people who are happy with their devices and that don't really give a crap about your individual problems.



    You could make Schiller's point with computers in general (which the iPhone is). I can write and load anything I want under Cocoa without any hassle and distribute any and all of it over the Internet to whomever would like it. That's what I mean by OPEN. Not true of Cocoa Touch though. The very fact that Schiller would take time to do this interview indicates Apple's not unconcerned with the situation. If Android reaches a critical market share (and Google doesn't miss many markets), Apple has few choices. It rules the roost at the moment for a stellar product, but if they adapt your attitude about not really giving a "crap about individual problems", they'll start a slow, but solid decline. People swap out in this business a lot sooner than with OS platforms. Can you imagine Schiller saying something like "Go live in the Android world and blah blah blah..." publicly? But that's what some developers, good ones, are feeling...and doing. They need to listen. Security and efficiency aren't mutually exclusive. We do it with Cocoa and the Internet all the time. As for me, I do intend to keep my options open and watch the Android platform and market in the coming years.
  • Reply 17 of 53
    teckstudteckstud Posts: 6,476member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by gimpymw View Post


    People like you seem to throw the word censorship out there like some blind guy pissing in the wind. You toss it out there and wait to see if it hits anything and when it does the hilarity ensues. I sure would like to hear you explain it... because I really think you can't.



    Plain and simple:



    http://news.cnet.com/8301-13506_3-10394265-17.html



    and



    http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/censorship



    there is no other explanation for it.

    And that's just one example of many rejected apps that Apple deems inappropriate. If that's not censorship- what is?
  • Reply 18 of 53
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by dasein View Post


    You could make Schiller's point with computers in general (which the iPhone is). I can write and load anything I want under Cocoa without any hassle and distribute any and all of it over the Internet to whomever would like it. That's what I mean by OPEN. Not true of Cocoa Touch though. The very fact that Schiller would take time to do this interview indicates Apple's not unconcerned with the situation. If Android reaches a critical market share (and Google doesn't miss many markets), Apple has few choices. It rules the roost at the moment for a stellar product, but if they adapt your attitude about not really giving a "crap about individual problems", they'll start a slow, but solid decline. People swap out in this business a lot sooner than with OS platforms. Can you imagine Schiller saying something like "Go live in the Android world and blah blah blah..." publicly? But that's what some developers, good ones, are feeling...and doing. They need to listen. Security and efficiency aren't mutually exclusive. We do it with Cocoa and the Internet all the time. As for me, I do intend to keep my options open and watch the Android platform and market in the coming years.



    "What some developers?" Please reference.
  • Reply 19 of 53
    Look whiners (Hewitt)....Apple has the upper hand in the interest of putting out great products. It's awesome that they even support a development community as such with quality assurance!. Let Hewitt go jack up some other OS. What we're talking about here is "Ego" vs. a Quality Control Process.
  • Reply 20 of 53
    pmzpmz Posts: 3,433member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by dasein View Post


    ...doesn't care for corporate reasons really. He/she will abandon it when/if a more open platform comes around. People still write more software for Windows in spite of all the issues with viruses, etc... Schiller makes some good points, but Apple needs to redesign its developers' business model before other platforms/companies exploit this. I can't even load my own apps on my own phone without a hassle.



    So go get a different #1 smartphone and use their app store with 100,000 apps. I'm so tired of this argument, its like placating children. This is Apple's way. If you don't like it, you have every necessary freedom to pursue something else.



    AKA your opinion on Apple's approval process is entirely worthless unless you speak with your wallet /thread
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