On Jan. 31, the iTunes store published the iPad app our team created. I'd heard about the challenges of publishing an app in Apple's store and now I know firsthand. If there is one thing that discriminates Apple as a company, it's that they care enough about quality to vet the material they provide. Apps are tested to verify they work, evaluated for good graphic design and a functional user interface. They even require a functional support page.
The flip side of their vetting is it can seem very capricious and subjective. What, definitively, is good design or a good interface? All too often, the answer falls into the category of "I'll know it when I see it." With Apple, the best bet is do your best work and submit it for review, then wait… and wait… and wait.
In today's world of rapid-fire fast-paced communications, we are conditioned like so many Pavlovian cyber-pups to expect a reply shortly after hitting send, but with Apple review, the time cycle is surreal, in slow-motion. Cycles between communications are measured in multi-day increments. Hit send and a day later, you'll get an acknowledgement your submission was received. Six days or so later, you'll get another email that they plan on looking at it. In our case, we got a note saying our app was rejected. They provided one good reason, which could be easily fixed, and one subjective reason, which we thought could be challenged.
So, we submitted our challenge to Apple's App Review Board. Once again, time moved in slow motion. Two days later, they acknowledged receiving it. Eleven days later, they sent an email saying they wanted to talk. Two days later, they told us they would call wihin three days. Naturally, the call came while I was home having lunch, but with some discussion about possible ways to improve the app's functionality and incorporate more iOS functionality, I was told the app was approved.
I now understand the process of giving birth, albeit cyber-birth... a bit painful, a bit longer than expected, but an app is born.