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February 18, 2009

3

Dancing with the Apple

by shiftyjelly

I have to admit, being a developer working for Apple really has it’s moments, at times (like when we were #1 in the store) you are ecstatic, people are actually using your software and deriving enjoyment from it. I won’t lie to you, it’s a good feeling. Another one last night: we were having a family outing at Brighton watching the tide come in, and were wondering if we’d be able to get back over the water with our 8 month old in his pram. So my wife fires up Pocket Weather, clicks on tides, then Brighton, and we see instantly that we are at the highest tide as we speak, and it’s on it’s way out. It was a nice little moment.

There are other times though, when you feel like punching someone, you really do.

Today was one of those days. First some history: We submitted Pocket Weather 1.3 to Apple 2 weeks ago, and everyone here at Shifty Jelly was ecstatic, it was an awesome release that we think people will love and we really love too. A full week later, Apple rejected it. It was rejected because there was an edge case that would cause the find weather by GPS function to crash (a race condition when the iPhone was unable to find your location in 15 seconds). We had actually seen this reported once before but were never able to get to the bottom of it. Apple attached a crash log which helped us fix it. So apart from the week of waiting, I guess you’d call that an amicable conclusion.

We then submitted the fixed version a full week ago, only to receive another email today. “Version 1.3 of your application, Pocket Weather, cannot be posted to the App Store at this time because…” my heart literally sank. We had waited 2 full weeks only to get another email like this. This time it was another crash, and I was angry…how could I have missed it! I pushed every last button 100 times! So I dutifully went off and studied the crash logs (symbolicating them so I could see the line numbers) and mea culpa, another edge case to do with national radars…one that only happens on a clean install of our application, and only on the very first launch. I guess the person I should be punching is myself…but now we come to the interesting part. I have resubmitted our application, and hope against all reason that it won’t take another full week for Apple to look at it. The problem is, I’ve done some research on this, and am not holding my breath. You see it turns out that with only one exception that Apple has only ever approved our products at around 10am Tuesday, Cupertino Time. This almost seems like Apple is running it’s own little ‘patch Tuesday’ ala the way Microsoft does bug fixes.

So what gives Apple? My guess is that you are either testing our software only once per week, or that you find these problems a lot earlier and only ever tell us about it at this specific time. Either way I find this situation to be unacceptable. Apple are making an incredible amount of money from the App store, so I would think that it would only be fair for them to do whatever they need to do to improve this situation! Imagine the scenario where after each problem report Apple had looked at our new version the next day. You would have had Pocket Weather in your hot little hands over a week ago.

Can any other app developers who may be reading this comment? Do you find that your software has a similar day of the week that it’s always approved?

Now if you’ll excuse me…I need to go and punch myself 🙂

Read more from Apple, Pocket Weather, Rant
3 Comments Post a comment
  1. Matthew Roberts
    Feb 18 2009

    Being an iPhone app developer who writes only simple applications, I find that Apple aren’t too bad. One of my apps was approved in 2 days, with updates following similar situations. It seems that Apple just seem to be really picky with you guys.

  2. Feb 20 2009

    Yeah lucky us aye? They sent us an email saying thanks for fixing it, we’ll get back to you soon. Guess what 3 days later still no response. I predict another Wednesday morning email (fingers crossed it’s an approval) 😉

  3. Alex
    Feb 21 2009

    Oh well, good things come to those who wait!
    I’ve been hanging out for this update and checking every day (OK more often than that even) to see if it’s come through as the new version look great.
    I have found your weather app fantastic and thank you for all your hard work. Well done.

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