iPhone app review process: fix it, don't kill it

Apple never should have said that most - 95 percent, to be exact - of the iPhone apps that are submitted for review are approved within 14 days. It just puts Apple's approval process further under the microscope.

Apple never should have said that most - 95 percent, to be exact - of the iPhone apps that are submitted for review are approved within 14 days. It just puts Apple's approval process further under the microscope.

Case in point: It's been 10 days since Facebook submitted its re-designed app and still no word on approval or rejection, according to a post on Silicon Alley Insider. Of course, the Facebook app is probably one of the most popular apps on the iPhone and it's sure to sail through the approval process. Real Networks is also watching the clock for its Rhapsody app, making a point to publicly announce earlier this week that it was submitting it for review.

The controversy over the apparent rejection of a Google Voice app for the iPhone set of a spark of controversy around the process that it takes to get an app on to the iPhone platform. The SAI post links to a blog post by Facebook developer Joe Hewitt, who thinks that Apple should completely eliminate the review process.

Whoa.

I just chimed in this week about how the review process could use a bit of an overhaul, seeing how some developers - such as Hewitt - are unhappy with the process and could shift their attention to developing apps for other platforms, such as Blackberry, Palm or Android. (Hewitt, for what it's worth, notes at the top of his essay that he will continue to develop for Apple products.)

But I don't think Apple will - or should - abandon the approval process. They need to keep that gate to the iPhone platform secure so the iPhone doesn't turn into a platform for crappy, buggy, malware-carrying programs that wreak havoc on the device. I'm sure there are some Apple-haters out there who would love to develop something evil for the iPhone just out of spite. Apple, through the review process, is making sure that doesn't happen.

As an iPod Touch user, I appreciate that.

You know what happens when you let anyone develop software for your platform and then consumers install it without knowing whether it's safe or not? You become Microsoft Windows - and the next thing you know, you're installing and updating anti-virus software, you're trying to block pop-ups and scanning the system to see if your files have been compromised.

No thanks.

Again, Apple's review process isn't perfect. But eliminating it all together just seems like a really bad idea.