In his first extensive interview on the subject Apple's Senior Vice President of Worldwide Product Marketing, Phil Schiller, gives BusinessWeek some insight about the App Store approval process which is both feared and loathed by developers.
Schiller puts a lot of emphasis on security as a reason for the App Store approval process being as tight as it is, saying:
We've built a store for the most part that people can trust... 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 volume of app submissions to the App Store is ferocious, 10,000 are submitted each week. Of those, 10 percent are denied for being inappropriate, meaning that they "steal personal data, or which are intended to help the user break the law, or which contain inappropriate content."
According to Schiller about 1% or fewer fall into some gray area that Apple hasn't anticipated — like apps that help users cheat at gambling.
Another big source of rejections is concerns over intellectual property, although Schiller concedes that Apple's trademark rules can be applied "inflexibly."
If you don't defend your trademarks, in the end you end up not owning them. And sometimes other companies come to us saying they've seen their trademarks used in apps without permission. We see that a lot.
In its short 28 month life many people have become dependent on their easy to lose (and steal) iPhones and store copious amounts of personal data on them. The author concludes that it "makes a good deal of sense to have someone keeping a close eye on what those apps do."
The personal nature of smartphones and the particular nastiness that malware could inflict (surreptitiously recording your voice and location, for example) seem to be his biggest reasons for supporting the iPhone's existing police state, but I don't buy it.
There has to be a middle ground between keeping the platform secure from malware and approving updates in less than eight weeks though – and Schiller doesn't appear ready to cede that point. Don't expect anything to change any time soon, especially if Schiller's interview is any indication.
Is he right? Is Apple just protecting us from ourselves?
Photo: Cult of Mac