I wrote earlier about AT&T’s responses to FCC’s questions concerning the iPhone App Store and Google Voice.
Now Apple has posted its responses to the same questions, which are basically the same as AT&T’s. Among the differences are that Apple’s responses contain some hard numbers on its controversial App Store approval process:
- 80% of applications are approved as originally submitted.
- 95% of applications are approved within 14 days of submission.
- 65,000 applications have been approved.
- 200,000 submissions and re-submissions have been made.
- 8,500 submissions are coming in each week.
- Each submission is reviewed by two reviewers.
- There are 40 reviewers.
These numbers don’t really add up. So what Apple probably means is that 95% of the applications that have been approved were approved within 14 days of their final submission. Even so, each reviewer must look at an average of 425 submissions per week (8,500*2/40), which is 10 per hour per reviewer – an average of 12 minutes of reviewer time per submission, which doesn’t seem to justify the terms “comprehensive” and “rigorous” used in Apple’s description of the process:
Apple developed a comprehensive review process that looks at every iPhone application that is submitted to Apple. Applications and marketing text are submitted through a web interface. Submitted applications undergo a rigorous review process that tests for vulnerabilities such as software bugs, instability on the iPhone platform, and the use of unauthorized protocols. Applications are also reviewed to try to prevent privacy issues, safeguard children from exposure to inappropriate content, and avoid applications that degrade the core experience of the iPhone. There are more than 40 full-time trained reviewers, and at least two different reviewers study each application so that the review process is applied uniformly. Apple also established an App Store executive review board that determines procedures and sets policy for the review process, as well as reviews applications that are escalated to the board because they raise new or complex issues. The review board meets weekly and is comprised of senior management with responsibilities for the App Store. 95% of applications are approved within 14 days of being submitted.
Of course much of this might be automated, which would explain both the superhuman productivity of the reviewers and the alleged mindlessness of the decision-making.