Would-Be Rejected iPhone Devs: Don’t Quit!

Reader Ramin in the Comments alerted me to this: iPhone developer rejection letter mass mailing.

Well, I never foresaw that!

And I’m sure Google is now laughing like mad.

As Ramin stated:

Here’s a good way to stem the flood of apps[.] Tell the developers to go pound sand.

What is ironic is it was just this morning that I came across a blog post (which, dammit, is not in my Firefox history, nor WordPress Dashboard, nor my FURL bin for linking to here) where a would-be iPhone OS developer was lamenting the fact he wouldn’t be able to access certain iPhone features having to do with multimedia and was therefore giving up in disgust.

I told him, and this is a very close paraphrase:

Don’t quit. You’ve just run into a temporary disappointment. Keep thinking of apps and keep coding. Maybe you’ll think of something else and in the meantime you’ll become a better coder too.

Yeah, I know that’s slim reassurance, but at least I gave it a shot.

I can’t imagine the level of disappointment that’s out there right now, especially among developers who are serious and have work to show on other platforms. It must be absolutely crushing to see the mountaintop in sight and feel the earth unexpectedly pulled out from under your feet! This will seem intensely cruel to those who are veteran developers for Mac OS X!

But my advice remains: Don’t quit!

What’s your alternative?

To put the iSDK away in disgust?

What will that get you?

Some temporary emotional satisfaction.

But will it get you any closer to the goal of having your product in the App Store?


I have no idea what criteria Apple has used to reject developers.

Perhaps it’s nothing more than initially accepting a certain number of requests and then no more for a while.

That would mean it’s absolutely no reflection on you.

Maybe Apple came to understand, after seeing the 100,000-plus downloads, that it would soon be flooded with more App Store submissions than it could handle! (See my post about that.)

It’s clear that Apple didn’t state up front, “We’ll be accepting the first X-number of developer requests, then no more for a while.” So I really do suspect they were overwhelmed by the response and had to brake hard to avert total catastrophe.

What they didn’t account for was the very, very bad P.R. this would engender.

This despite having the precedent of the $200 iPhone price cut reaction!

Don’t quit!

I don’t know how much prototyping is possible without a certificate from Apple, but keep doing what you can.

Do you want to walk away and then, perhaps in two weeks or a month, get an acceptance email from Apple?

Pasteur said, Chance favors the prepared mind.

Keep planning. Keep learning the iSDK. Create your pre-App Store marketing plan. Keep working.

So that when the opportunity comes, you can take full advantage of it!

Listen, let me tell you a secret: Apple doesn’t know everything the iPhone and iPod Touch can do.

You developers do.

And we customers are out here, counting on that from you.

Don’t quit!


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20 Comments on “Would-Be Rejected iPhone Devs: Don’t Quit!”

  1. ramin Says:

    There is an alternative to using the official SDK: http://www.oreilly.com/catalog/9780596518554/index.html

    You don’t get to use a lot of the cool development tools Apple just put out, you have to be really careful not to use features in the finished product that violate Apple’s SDK rules, and your app will not be accepted in the App Store until it gets that signed certificate.

    But at least you can get going. My guess is that’s the route a lot of developers are going to take.

  2. mikecane Says:

    Ah, I’d heard about that book. But I won’t give it a top-level post. It’s from O’Reilly, the would-be Net Nanny would wanted us all to put Decency Stickers on our blogs!

    I’m sure everyone will find out about it without me pimping it.

  3. Martin Hill Says:

    Hey, it’s a limited early beta program with code-level tech support, at the moment – Apple can’t possibly field 100,000 bug reports from every Tom, Dick and Harriet. They’re filtering out the hordes to concentrate on a small number who they can guarantee will give good-quality de-bugging and testing feedback.

    Give them time – Apple will open it up closer to WWDC.

    In the meantime, there is no restriction on continuing to develop applications using the freely available SDK.

    It’s a storm in a teacup.


  4. Grant Says:

    The mass mailing from Apple is bone head move, could have been handled much better!

    I think this is all about managing growth. Comments from Apple executives regarding roll-outs in other countries indicates that things are going as Apple wants them to. They want things to build gradually.

    Did anyone notice, on the iPhone Developer Program page (http://developer.apple.com/iphone/program/) the text:
    “The iPhone Developer Program will initially be available to a limited number of developers in the U.S. and will expand to other countries in the coming months.” Sound to me like managing growth . . . without a great deal of tact mind you.

  5. lookmark Says:

    That e-mail was unwisely written, to say the least.

    It’s only w/r/t the beta program, which will expand over the next 3 months, and be open to all in June.

  6. Lefty Says:

    It’s not at all a “storm in a teacup”. It’s Apple, unfortunately, using the RDF to mislead developers again. I expect this will drive many developers away from considering the iPhone as a platform worth pursuing, since Apple’s has advised them that they aren’t developers worth pursuing.

    That’s what you buy into when you buy into a closed platform.

  7. Lefty Says:

    Oh, by the way: I certainly would have responded on furbo.org, were such a thing possible. Comments don’t seem to be possible there, as I discovered when I went to ask the writer the very same questions I’m asking you.

    Still no answer on how ALP, Symbian and Windows Mobile manage to defy the laws of physics by allowing background processing…?

    And you haven’t the slightest idea whether Apple’s program is going to be the least bit more open in June than it is now. Its current utter and egregious lack of openness came as a complete surprise to everyone, and Apple hasn’t given the slightest clue as to the criteria they’ll use to decide who gets in and who doesn’t. They could be spinning a roulette wheel over there and only letting the folks who hit double-zero in for all anyone knows.

  8. mikecane Says:

    Hey, you’re being willfully obstinate here. I gave you someone who is qualified to argue your points and you’re telling me you’re too frikkin lazy to find his email address? I was able to email him just fine about something else yesterday.

    And I notice I should mention it here too: “Lefty” is an employee of ACCESS. ACCESS purchased PalmSource, which owned PalmOS. ACCESS is selling its competitor product to the iPhone OS: the ACCESS Linux Platform (ALP). Which, I will state again, I expect to be gone by year’s end and “Lefty” to be looking for employment.

  9. Lefty Says:

    So, you have a blog, and you don’t want comments…? Seems odd, about as odd as your pal at furbo.org’s turning ’em off.

    I expect that your “expectations” regarding my employment have about as much value to them as your “expectation” that we’d be seeing the thoroughly mythical “iPod Air” by now.

    I wanted to mention, your comment on PalmInfoCenter to the effect that I was spending too much time commenting there is pretty funny coming from a guy who’s so obviously underemployed that he’s got absolutely nothing better to do with his time than pound out about a dozen blog postings a day, seven days a week.

    Have you considered a hobby of some sort? I hear basket weaving is good for folks who find quotidian reality too agitating…

  10. mikecane Says:

    >>>Have you considered a hobby of some sort? I hear basket weaving is good for folks who find quotidian reality too agitating…

    Yeah, and you were telling me I was engaging in ad hominem. Right.

    Hey, I placed your expertise in a top-level post for everyone to marvel at.


    Maybe you should print it out? Your ACCESS bosses in Japan would be most proud, I think.

  11. Lefty Says:

    Hey, what’s good for the goose, friend.

    So, now we’re down to threats, eh? Your efforts to intimidate me into going away are even more amusing that your idiotic dodges. Knock yourself out, Mike. What I do on my own time is my own business.

  12. mikecane Says:

    Threats?! Your mind really does work in a strange way. Unless, of course, you’re paranoid. Well, with Apple as a competitor, you shouldn’t feel threatened — because your company simply doesn’t exist to begin with.

    How many phones is ACCESS’s ALP on again? How many have been sold? In how many countries? How’s that “study” DoCoMo has been doing?

  13. Lefty Says:

    Mike, how else am I to interpret your mutterings about my “bosses in Japan”…? From all appearances, you’re doing everything you can to get me to go away. I can understand why: you’re looking increasingly reactive and uninformed as this dialogue goes on.

    Sorry For The Inconvenience.

    (And I can’t comment on unreleased or unannounced products–they taught us to say that back at Apple… For what it’s worth though, we’re actively working with DoCoMo and the rest of the gang, and things are going very well, thanks for asking. I guess I’ll add “the way Japanese companies operate” to the increasingly lengthy list of things you don’t understand.)

  14. mikecane Says:

    Hey, Lefty, you’re the one trying to come in here and push an agenda without explicitly stating you work for a competitor company. I’m sure your bosses would not be proud, which is also why you don’t use your real name.

  15. Lefty Says:

    How long do you figure you’ll go on without addressing a single one of the points I’ve raised? I’m guessing “forever”, myself.

    (I’ll point out, again, that there are plenty of folks who don’t work for ACCESS who’ve raised precisely the same criticisms. Do they all have an “agenda” as well…?)

  16. mikecane Says:

    Hey, I’ve given you someone who’s a *programmer* who can address the issues. You refuse to go ask him.

    You have a blog. Why haven’t you spent time *there* writing a refutation? Instead, you come here. Talk about “goofing off!”

  17. Lefty Says:

    Are you saying that you’re unqualified to address these issues, Mike…? I’m more interested in a public discussion. You raised the issues, so why are you so keen to evade any discussion of the issues you raised…?

    Just wonderin’.

  18. mikecane Says:

    Keep doing that.

  19. Lefty Says:

    Talk about “goofing off!”

    Bold words from a guy who’s got so little to keep himself occupied that he does fifteen blog posts a day.

  20. mikecane Says:

    I don’t account to you or anyone else for how I spend my time. It’s obvious business is non-starting at your employer. Look at all the spare time you have. Come the end of the year, you’ll have plenty of time to be on the Net: job hunting.

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