Developers rushing to submit apps before Apple's annual holiday break

The New York Times has a great piece up on how app developers for the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch are in a mad rush to get their apps submitted and approved into the App Store before it goes dark for Apple's annual holiday break.

Each year around Christmas, Apple stops accepting app submissions and updating its store for a while. This year the shutdown starts on Thursday and runs for eight days. In the weeks leading up to the cutoff, developers often pull all-nighters so they can get their work to Apple in time. [...] “There’s a mad scramble for developers,” said Marc Edwards, lead designer at Bjango, an Australian app maker. “In terms of money, it can be a really big deal.”

Apple's App Store approval process is mandatory -- run more like a carefully curated department store than the almost-anything-goes open air bazaar that is Google's Android Market -- and most iOS developers are highly motivated to get approved before the shutdown because being there on Christmas day means big money.

When millions of people unwrap their shiny new iPhone 4S, iPod touch, or iPad 2, one of the first things they'll do is jump into the App Store and start downloading apps to play around with. Flurry, a mobile analytics firm that specializes in tracking such app downloads, estimates that the period between December 23rd and December 26th are the biggest days for developers with around 240 million apps purchased in this small window of time.

Bryan Duke, a part-time app developer in Las Vegas, has seen firsthand how much of a difference one day can make. One of his apps is an air hockey game that costs 99 cents and usually averages about 300 downloads a day. But on Christmas Day last year there were 1,834.

Given the numbers involved, if App Store is a gold mine, Christmas day is an Eldorado bonanza... No wonder developers don't want to take any chances.

Source: NYTimes