Much as I love the App Store, here’s another thing that bugs me (and I’m assuming, most other developers). The most important thing as a developer is getting your app seen by potential purchasers – you really want it to appear, at least briefly, in the new releases section and that’s where the problem is…
For the benefit of those of you who haven’t ever submitted an App to Apple, here’s how it works.
1. Let’s say you submit your App on January 1st into the Utilities section. Look at the Utilities page in iTunes – the most visible apps are the new releases in the middle of the page. Each of the apps has a release date and today’s apps are on page 1 (of 189 as of today).
2. So, you’ve submitted your App on January 1st and Apple sit on it for a while before they release it – this varies from a couple of days to weeks and in some cases months.
3. In our example, we’ll pretend that Apple take a week to release it and it becomes available in the store on January 7th – hooray! But (there’s always a but) it doesn’t appear in today’s new releases, instead it’s on about page 10 of the new releases and the release date is listed as the date you submitted the app! So nobody that’s just casually browsing the store is ever going to see it.
4. All is not lost though, developers can log onto iTunes Connect (the web-based interface for the App Store) and change the date to January 7th and hopefully, within a few hours, this new info will filter through to the store and your app will be displayed on the front page of its chosen section. You can only do this once though, which makes perfect sense as you’d be changing the date everyday to try and stay visible.
This whole thing just doesn’t make sense. Why is the date submitted counted as the release date? Surely it couldn’t be difficult for Apple to just list the release date as the date that the app was actually released? That would stop this mad panic dash that developers get every time they release an app or an update, to log in and edit the date so that somebody might actually see their app…
To make matters worse, iTunes Connect seems to have been down for the last 2 days. Done 1.7 has just been released, Apple took weeks to approve it so God knows which page of the new releases it’s sitting on – certainly not one where casual users will ever see it.
Believe it or not, one of the main reasons developers release frequent updates to their Apps is not just to fix bugs and add new features but to benefit from the little sales spikes you get with each update. Why does Apple have to make the whole process so hard?