Apple hits out at amateur developers and fart apps

Apple published its App Store review guidelines on Thursday.

Contained in the document is an introduction that is blunt and honest. Written in a personal manner, the document outlines the approval process for applications and Apple's thinking.

  • We have lots of kids downloading lots of apps, and parental controls don't work unless the parents set them up (many don't). So know that we're keeping an eye out for the kids.
  • We have over 250,000 apps in the App Store. We don't need any more Fart apps. If your app doesn't do something useful or provide some form of lasting entertainment, it may not be accepted.
  • If your App looks like it was cobbled together in a few days, or you're trying to get your first practice App into the store to impress your friends, please brace yourself for rejection. We have lots of serious developers who don't want their quality Apps to be surrounded by amateur hour.
  • We will reject Apps for any content or behavior that we believe is over the line. What line, you ask? Well, as a Supreme Court Justice once said, "I'll know it when I see it". And we think that you will also know it when you cross it.
  • If your app is rejected, we have a Review Board that you can appeal to. If you run to the press and trash us, it never helps.
  • This is a living document, and new apps presenting new questions may result in new rules at any time. Perhaps your app will trigger this.

The document is surprisingly honest in its introduction and confirms many developers fears. Apple attacks its amateur developers by reminding potential developers that other competitors "don't want their quality apps to be surrounded by amateur hour". The amateur hour phrase was also used by Steve Jobs to explain away questions regarding Apple TV content.

However, despite the strong tone of the document it's likely an attitude that will be well appreciated by most successful developers. Apple rounds off the document by saying: "If it sounds like we're control freaks, well, maybe it's because we're so committed to our users and making sure they have a quality experience with our products."

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bushbrother said,
So hang on, what if I have an amazing idea, but i am not a graphic designer. I want to sell my app, at first it may look crappy, but perhaps someone will help me later make it *shiny* when it gains popularity. What about that?

Guess I will develop elsewhere ...

Getting better Apple, obviously someone somewhere is taking note of what's being said on the web, but some of those comments are still crazy!

It doesn't take much to make a UI look nice on iOS. If you're having a hard time with it, like dp123 said, you don't have a good idea.

bushbrother said,
So hang on, what if I have an amazing idea, but i am not a graphic designer. I want to sell my app, at first it may look crappy, but perhaps someone will help me later make it *shiny* when it gains popularity. What about that?

Guess I will develop elsewhere ...

Getting better Apple, obviously someone somewhere is taking note of what's being said on the web, but some of those comments are still crazy!


You don't have to be a gfx designer. You just have to use the standard UI controls for your app. Those come for free.

"If it sounds like we're control freaks, well, maybe it's because we're so committed to our users and making sure they have a quality experience with our products."

Maybe. But it seems more likely that they're just power-hungry twits like the rest of the power-hungry twits in the world who "just want to ensure that I have a quality experience" in life in general. I've already got a Mommy and Daddy. Amusing that they started out with the "for the children" chiche.

They need to wrap all documents in <upspeak> tags. (See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/High_rising_terminal)

Apple doesn't want a bunch of crappy apps or explicit and offensive (matter of opinion) material on their App Store. I think that is reasonable given the amount of logos they put all over it...even the receipts you get in email are from Apple not from the developers.

This close mindedness does come at the cost to the user. Maybe the fart apps that are currently out just aren't enough for me, and I want more fart apps! Apple really should allow for 3rd party app stores that don't require going through an exploit or hole to get to them.

I guess if you really want no app store oversight, there is Android. MS is going the Apple direction...

Amateur Hour? From Apple? The same company who have dispatched 1000s of iPods to the UK, so they can be sold in their physical retail stores, where anyone can pick one up, but who haven't dispatched a SINGLE iPod Touch to the people who pre-ordered 8 days ago. Or to be specific - the orders haven't even started processing yet. The earliest a pre-order iPod Touch will arrive in the UK is Saturday (11th), though more likely it'll be from Monday (13th) onwards.

Apple accusing people of Amateur hour dramatics - Pot calling the kettle black, me thinks.

HiroProtagonist1984 said,
Amateur Hour? From Apple? The same company who have dispatched 1000s of iPods to the UK, so they can be sold in their physical retail stores, where anyone can pick one up, but who haven't dispatched a SINGLE iPod Touch to the people who pre-ordered 8 days ago. Or to be specific - the orders haven't even started processing yet. The earliest a pre-order iPod Touch will arrive in the UK is Saturday (11th), though more likely it'll be from Monday (13th) onwards.

Apple accusing people of Amateur hour dramatics - Pot calling the kettle black, me thinks.

Different products have different manufacturing processes and timelines? The Shock! The Horror!

The whining...

dp123 said,

Different products have different manufacturing processes and timelines? The Shock! The Horror!

The whining...

So you're saying if you'd pre-ordered a product, and paid £249 in the process ($384), were told that it would be delievered on the 10th, and yet come the 9th, they hadn't started processing the order - meaning it wouldn't arrive until the 13th at the earliest, you wouldn't be slightly annoyed? Especially given the fact the same product is available in the Apple "offline" stores to retail?

Good for you I guess.

HiroProtagonist1984 said,

So you're saying if you'd pre-ordered a product, and paid £249 in the process ($384), were told that it would be delievered on the 10th, and yet come the 9th, they hadn't started processing the order - meaning it wouldn't arrive until the 13th at the earliest, you wouldn't be slightly annoyed? Especially given the fact the same product is available in the Apple "offline" stores to retail?

Good for you I guess.

I wouldn't scream "AMATEUR HOUR" at a company with a hit on its hand, doing everything possible to fulfill its orders, no. Oh my god, you won't have your shiny, new toy for 4 more days!!! How will you get through the long, dark hours?

HiroProtagonist1984 said,

So you're saying if you'd pre-ordered a product, and paid £249 in the process ($384), were told that it would be delievered on the 10th, and yet come the 9th, they hadn't started processing the order - meaning it wouldn't arrive until the 13th at the earliest, you wouldn't be slightly annoyed? Especially given the fact the same product is available in the Apple "offline" stores to retail?

Good for you I guess.

And what was the delivery date given initially. If it has gone past that but when I ordered my iPhone 4 the delivery date was the release date and sure enough come 3pm a UPS guy came knocking with iPhone 4 in hand.

Companies do tend to prefer retail availability over online availability as many people can't take days off to wait for an item to be delivered and to be honest, it looks much better in the media when there are queues of people waiting for the new thing outside your stores.

I think its to the point really. It will help them to keep their app library quality over quantity.

They are right that you only need one "fart app". Why make multipul fart apps, when they already do the same thing?

Additionally, it annoys me when i read an apps overview which sounds exciting, then i look at the screenshots and realise its actually nothing more than a bat and ball made of two pixles.

Panacik said,
They are right that you only need one "fart app". Why make multipul fart apps, when they already do the same thing?
That's taking it to the other extreme. There is certainly potential for differentiation between fart apps.

Panacik said,
I think its to the point really. It will help them to keep their app library quality over quantity.

They are right that you only need one "fart app". Why make multipul fart apps, when they already do the same thing?

Additionally, it annoys me when i read an apps overview which sounds exciting, then i look at the screenshots and realise its actually nothing more than a bat and ball made of two pixles.


Exactly. Apple has hundreds of thousands of apps, so there's obviously no need for quantity at this point. This is good for the end-user. Apple is shooting for diversity and quality, not quantity and crappy apps. That's their clear message here. Because they know it sells more phones to have a good app library.

Here is a question for developers. Why would you develop an app for IOS given that there are almost 200,000 apps, i.e., there is a good chance that there is already an app that'll do what you are planning to develop? What are the chances that you are going to make money?

zagor said,
Here is a question for developers. Why would you develop an app for IOS given that there are almost 200,000 apps, i.e., there is a good chance that there is already an app that'll do what you are planning to develop? What are the chances that you are going to make money?

Some people program for fun or practice, and wouldn't mind making a buck or two off of it (and to also see it listed in the store can give them some pride in their work).

I'm sure most developers are aware that they won't be quitting their day jobs from the release of their app.

zagor said,
Here is a question for developers. Why would you develop an app for IOS given that there are almost 200,000 apps, i.e., there is a good chance that there is already an app that'll do what you are planning to develop? What are the chances that you are going to make money?

This is similar to security by obscurity argument. Don't produce an app unless the platform is underdeveloped? That's sad and just points to unskilled developers. If you don't have a great app that's unique and fills a purpose for a given audience, don't develop at all. If you have a quality app and are a quality developer, the platform with the greatest competition is probably going to be the best home for you because its obviously the most vibrant market and comeptition will spur you on.

If your app is rejected, we have a Review Board that you can appeal to. If you run to the press and trash us, it never helps.

Actually running to the press and bashing gets things done. Since Apple is such a closed company, they make their own rules and do what they think is right. The only way to get Apple to do what you want is to trap them into a corner and force their hand, by going to the press and creating a public outrage. Believe it or not the haters are good for something.

When someone complains to the press about Apple, the haters jump on board and back him/her up. Then Apple is forced to make those changes or lose business. So, everyone, ignore this statement from Apple and just do what YOU want, just like what they do.

ManOfMystery said,

Actually running to the press and bashing gets things done. Since Apple is such a closed company, they make their own rules and do what they think is right. The only way to get Apple to do what you want is to trap them into a corner and force their hand, by going to the press and creating a public outrage. Believe it or not the haters are good for something.

When someone complains to the press about Apple, the haters jump on board and back him/her up. Then Apple is forced to make those changes or lose business. So, everyone, ignore this statement from Apple and just do what YOU want, just like what they do.


You are far more likely to be successful if you play by Apple's rules. They have an appeals board in place; if that fails you, that's the time to go to the press. Otherwise you'll just **** them off.

I don't know why that is such a hard concept for people to understand...

We have lots of kids downloading lots of apps, and parental controls don't work unless the parents set them up (many don't). So know that we're keeping an eye out for the kids.

You're doing it wrong.

so... how does that explain why we have uber duplication of crappy apps?? and if that is the case why do we have like way too many fart apps..

Damn, I hope Big Button Box isn't affected, I bought that cool app. If this is under 'Piracy', please edit this post mods, but if you have bought an app and you can't get it from the app store anymore, may I suggest jailbreaking your iDevice, adding the cydia.hackulo.us repo, installing installous and getting your purchased app back?

So now that the "we have a gazillion apps" thing isn't much of a selling point they start restricting crap? Well played Apple, well played.

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