State of the Apps: Ad Hoc Distro and Beta Testing, a Call For Review Sanity, and NDA All About Patents?

For the last week or so I've been beta testing a well known iPhone application. Beta testing involves using the 100 iPhone "Ad Hoc" distribution method first outlined at WWDC 2008. I was planning on writing up the process, and my experiences being involved in it (all straightforward, all great -- all definitely far more work for developers than testers) when, thankfully for all involved, one of the foremost iPhone devs, Craig Hockenberry of Twitteriffic fame, went and did it the way it should be done.

Interested in Ad Hoc distribution and how iPhone beta testing works? Get you to reading over at his site,

Meanwhile, Erica Sadun over at TUAW presents a very well though out essay on how Apple could (and should?) improve the App review process with more objectivity, consistency, and transparency.

In [redacted] NDA land, John Gruber over at Daring Fireball offers an interesting theory, via a reader: what if it's all about patent protection? Seems Apple might start the clock ticking when the NDA is lifted, and the technology gets published, and their lawyers may not have all the dots and crosses in place yet.

Finally, is it time to put BoxOffice on a milk carton yet?

Have something to say about this story? Leave a comment! Need help with something else? Ask in our forums!

Rene Ritchie

EiC of iMore, EP of Mobile Nations, Apple analyst, co-host of Debug, Iterate, Vector, Review, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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Reader comments

State of the Apps: Ad Hoc Distro and Beta Testing, a Call For Review Sanity, and NDA All About Patents?

1 Comment

Apple should KILL all the apps if you ask me as all they do is make your iPhone crash faster!
The iPhone 2.0.1 and iTunes 7.7.1 is so totally unstable it crashes everyday and needs a restore. Apps quit constantly, all of them doesn't matter which one. Once one app quits they all do. Restarts and hard resets do not help. Only a total restore is needed. Sometimes when an app quits it kills the iPhone and you are left with a Apple logo.
iTunes takes forever to do backups on the iPhone that wind up useless as when you try to do a restore using a backup, 9 times out of ten iTunes tells you it is corrupted and you need to restore as a new iPhone.
iTunes never knows when you need updates on the apps and is wrong most of the time. If you do and update with iTunes of an app, it downloads the app and recreates the file instead of overwriting it. Take a look in your Mobile Application folder and you will find tons of files building up with incremented file names like AIM, AIM 1, AIM 2, etc.
The iPhone is a fantastic device when it works, which is never more than a day if you install any apps and try to use them. Beware installing, updating or deleting apps directly on the iPhone very often will kill it leaving you with the white Apple logo of death and no phone at all. Such a pleasant experience when it happens in the middle of the day leaving you without even a cell phone. Make a great Apple logo flashlight!
I returned the iPhone for replacement, I synced it with different Macs, tried loading less app, different apps, no apps. Nothing really helps. This is the buggiest products Apple has probably ever released.
The Genius Bars and the Apple support forums are loaded with iPhone problems so I am not alone!