Apple Warns Developers App Store Approval Process Sucking More Than Usual

Navigating Apple's black box approval process and wondering when/if your app makes it has always been a part of iPhone app developers' trials, but for a change, Apple's actually warning devs about them.

Some developers who've submitted their applications to the iTunes App Store in the past few days have received an email from Apple informing them that a massive approval queue means that the their app might not go live before Christmas, hosing them on the post-holiday rush, reports Infinite Loop. The culprit, besides the usual mysterious slowness of the process, appears to be a surge of apps trying to slide in to hit the app store in time for Christmas and shower in the glory of a million unwrapped iPod touches and iPhones.

Many developers, including one we've talked to, says that they're holding off on new apps or major updates to their apps until MacWorld, using the extended timeframe to add extra features or polish that will hopefully turn into more buzz amidst the gush of Apple coverage that week.

While the current backlog issue might the result of a flood of app submissions Apple didn't quite predict, it still serves to highlight the problems with the completely opaque app store approval process, since it forces developers to gamble on timing the release of their app, which can be just as critical to success as the development process itself. [Ars]