iPhone Dev Program: 13% Acceptance, 99% Chaos?

iPhone Dev Program Broken?

Paul Kafasis, who along with his fellow Rogue Amoeba's raised some early concerns over the iPhone SDK, is back with a post WWDC status report, and his current opinion? Brokended.

After a month of waiting, with no contact from Apple save form letters that went out to all developers, we'd grown quite frustrated. We don't know if we should invest our time in a platform for which we may not even be allowed to release software. Finally on April 8th, one of our developers decided to apply to the program as an individual, to see what would happen. Shockingly, in under 24 hours he had a certificate which enabled him to work on actual hardware.

Kafasis thinks that Apple is handling individual applications separately from -- and for some reason much faster than -- company applications, which he finds confusing given the possible impact of large development houses and the only real (and critical) differentiator of the $99 program acceptance being the ability to tether and test actual hardware (rather than simulators) and, of course, the ability to sell through the App Store. Ultimately, he believes the problem lies in Apple's communications -- not only its lack of clarity, but its complete lacking (almost a trademark of the tight lipped company).

iPhone dev expert extraordinaire Erica Sadun follows up with some analysis of her own:

25000 applied; 4000 admitted. By any stretch of the calculator, thats only about a 16% acceptance rate. It's one that has left many independent OS X developers behind.

Was Apple overwhelmed by the sheer volume of applications? Have they botched the program from the get go? And what could they do now to help get developers (and their developments) back on track?

Rene Ritchie

Editor-in-Chief of iMore, co-host of Iterate, Debug, Review, The TV Show, Vector, ZEN & TECH, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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There are 4 comments. Add yours.

molo says:

I hope apple dont come to regret this.
Developers are finicky people, if you chase them away it is harder to get them back.
"once bitten, twice shy.

Tom says:

I think it is more a case of letting the worthy ones in and ignoring the rest. Look at WinMo with its near 20 thousand third party apps. How many are garbage? How many are duplicates of the same thing?
I would prefer 4 thousand good developers than I would 100 thousand hacks. Why do we need to choose between 45 To-Do apps? Why have 36 calendar apps?
Just my two cents, but I think this will be yet another thing the nay-sayers cling to with misinformed claws. I for one like the concept of being selective.

Mr. X says:

There's nothing "shocking" about this if you understand the purpose of a Beta Test program. It's not to give developers a head start over the competition. It is to provide Apple with the opportunity to test the software and the program before they roll it out to the world. To do that, they need a representative sample of developers from both large and small organizations. The number is restricted to the number of Beta testers Apple can support. They do not have infinite resources, despite what outsiders may think.
I can tell you for a fact that not all individual developers were accepted, let alone accepted within 24 hours. I certainly wasn't.
Kafasis's whining is simply unprofessional. Anyone who understands how Beta test programs work knows the program isn't broken.

Rene Ritchie says:

@Mr. X:
I think there's definitely something to that. It's like X-Mas finally arrives but some of the devs realize they're on the old calendar and have to wait a few more days to open their presents. Reasonable? Maybe. Emotional? They're human.
And people in on the beta sure will have an early start.