Late Tuesday night, reports began appearing from various sources indicating the App Store was experiencing problems, potentially affecting developer sales and rankings in the Store. The issue was later reported to have been resolved only a few hours after it appeared.
Issues included the loss of application names, descriptions, missing screenshots and omission from search results and rankings on the iTunes Store. Joseph Barghouthi, developer of Mummy’s Revenge, estimates 10-15% of the apps available on the App Store were affected.
In an interview with us Barghouthi stated, “For my app it was a sharp decline in ranking from #60 to #73 in a matter of a few hours and in Adventure [it went] from #27 – #32. I know there were some newly released apps but I’ve never seen it drop that fast.”
Barghouthi noticed the bug around 5:00 pm PST on Tuesday. “I didn’t think anything of it at first, I thought that the App Store was simply updating and that everything would be fine,” Barghouthi said. “Unfortunately, the apparent glitch lasted longer than I expected.” Barghouthi continued checking his app listing but only noticed it return to normal once he awoke in the morning.
Issues such as this can affect business in a significant way for developers. “The chances of someone buying an App, with no name, no description and no pictures are very slim,” Barghouthi said. Couple that with Apple’s lack of response to the issue and you have a cause for distress among those developing for the iPhone.
Even so, Barghouthi is unsure what Apple could do to address this and future occurrences. “Apple runs a very complex system which I couldn’t begin to completely comprehend,” Barghouthi said. “However in my dream world if there was a fiasco like this maybe an email to all the developers who had been affected would have been appropriate”.
Barghouthi noted with the amount of apps currently available in the Store, this might not be a realistic approach for Apple if service difficulties continue to occur.
Iliya Yordanov, creator of 18,000 COOL JOKES for the iPhone, was also affected by the glitch. Yardona said in an interview with us, “I think Apple should have a transparent policy on what’s going on in the App Store. After all, we’re [developers] too many to ignore just like that. And frankly, I think Apple tends to forget that it’s the small developers that made the App Store, not the big ones.”
While Apple proudly touts the multitude of apps available on its Store, the majority of those are from small, independent developers. Despite the recent glitch, Yardanov doesn’t feel the issue was significant enough to make him reconsider development for the platform, but he does state it can have future ramifications if Apple continues conducting business the way it is.
“It doesn’t change our plans, it doesn’t change our ideas or views for this business. But it does change one thing: it’s another drop in the sea of losing faith in Apple, in terms of a partner. In terms of the products you use, they are the best. But when it comes to working with them it just gets worse. And I really wish it wasn’t that way, because after all, they gave us this great framework and device to work with, and we’ve made some amazing apps. It’s these apps that keep the iPhone as a top selling device.”
An inquiry was put into Apple regarding this issue, but they were unavailable for comment as of press time.