If any company desperately needs a clueful community manager, it's Apple. I've written before about the company's issues with the App store and the way it treats developers (as have many others) but it looks like they're still having a hard time getting a handle on developer relations.
Ars Infinite Loop blog takes up the case of developers who have been waiting for up to three months for their apps to be approved:
Hart even goes as far as calling Apple's attempts at support thus far "amateur," and claims that the problems are widespread. His comments made us a bit curious as to whether this was simply the case of a particular developer making a lot of noise, or the problem truly is as widespread as he suggests. We decided to talk to a few more developers (besides our own Erica Sadun, of course) to see if the accusations were justified.
Ivan Papavich of Brancipater Software has had similar experiences. According to Ivan, the reviewing of applications takes a long time, but worse, that the time frame for review is so sporadic. "It could be two days, it could be two months" Ivan told us. Further, the lack of feedback on what "step" the review process is on further adds to the frustration. Ivan says, "The bottom line is that iTunes Connect is alright, as long as nothing goes wrong. As soon as something does go wrong, it's bloody annoying and hard to fix." The folks at Brancipater added that they would be willing to pay for support that met a certain standard.
To give all due credit, Apple has done a lot right with the iPhone. From the user perspective, the App store is a shining example of ease of use. Another tech journalist I respect quite a lot was just commenting today on how he could easily kill an hour browsing the App Store.
But the gatekeeper approach has to be excruciating for the developer community. And even though the user experience is a nice one, I'm not keen on supporting an ecosystem that blocks a number of useful applications from being available in the name of blocking competition with Apple's own apps.
My next phone will be an Android.