iPhone App Store: 8,500 Apps To Review Per Week, 40 Reviewers – No Wonder The Reviews Process Sucks

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There are a number of reports on the web this weekend on Apple ‘s responses to the FCC ‘s request for information regarding the recent Google Voice app rejection “ including this one at TechCrunch.   Sites like Daring Fireball have done some reviewing of some of the numbers contained in Apple ‘s responses about the App Store, its number of reviewers, and the volume of apps that get reviewed.

Two very striking numbers revealed by Apple, especially when taken together, are these: 8,500 new apps and updates per week to review, and 40 full-time trained reviewers to handle that load.

Looking at those two numbers together leads to some pretty obvious thoughts pretty quickly:

  • Wow, I feel sorry for those 40 reviewers.
  • Wow, I feel even more sorry for developers whose livelihood may depend on the whims of those hugely overworked reviewers.
  • Since every app apparently needs to be reviewed by two reviewers, that works out to around 80 apps PER DAY that each reviewer has to handle. 10 per hour if they work an 8 hour day.
  • That works out to 6 minutes spent per app, on average, even if they take zero breaks during their 8 hours.  I ‘m sure some apps require less time than others and so on “ but any way you slice it, that just sounds ridiculous.
  • With these sort of numbers it is no surprise at all that we see crazy, dumb approvals and rejections of apps, that later have to be reversed.
  • It ‘s also no surprise that we see so much inconsistency in the decisions being made.

Honestly, with that sort of crazy volume of apps to reviewers, it ‘s a wonder they ever get anything right at all in the reviews process.

Doesn ‘t Apple have something like a $40 billion cash pile?  Could they maybe take a portion of that and hire some more reviewers?  Like a whole hell of a lot more reviewers. 

As someone who believes that it is all about the apps / the platform when it comes to the smartphone arena, it seems absurd to me that Apple is not devoting more “ as in, much,much more “ resource to this area. 

What do you all think?  Do you now dream of a glamorous and exciting career as an apps reviewer?

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  • http://www.facebook.com/matesola Matous Petran

    I have some problem with 8 500!!! apps or updates every week. Thats 1215 per day!!! In appstore is at the moment 65 000 apps. Maybe is a average count of updates 3 per one app. Correct me if i´m wrong, but 8500 apps/updates per week sounds stupid to me…

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/patrickj patrickj

      The 8,500 number is taken straight from Apple's replies to the FCC – I can't think why they would offer an inaccurate number to a government agency. Also, seeing the total number of apps we already have, and glancing at RSS feeds each day that show new and updated apps, I can easily believe it.

      • http://www.facebook.com/matesola Matous Petran

        I know, i have read it. But 8500? It´s so simple to make a mistake with one zero :))
        Anyway, they should take some priorities and aprove first updates for apps like facebook or give the priorities for some 1st class apps. I can barely imagine how many apps from the 8500 weekly are worth of some interest.

    • http://www.iphonedownloadblog.com Sebastien

      I agree with you. From what I see, there are only a couple hundred new apps a day.

  • obee1

    Not all apps are approved. It sounds like a lot get rejected for being too buggy. The couple hundred new apps a day are just the approved ones, not all the submitted ones.

  • http://americaniphone.com free iphone themes

    8500 apps is a very huge numbers, and they have only 40 reviewers. Why they don't have like a community based reviewers, open up a forum to all everyone who want to volunteer reviewing the apps. Of course those who volunteered should be on audition or something like that first.
    Maybe they can have thousands of reviewers… How about that?

    • Breton

      so instead of hiring new people, and paying them a wage, you try and get people to devote their time for free, and without paying them. Sounds kind of exploitative.

      • http://americaniphone.com free iphone themes

        Hmm,, never think bout the exploitative part,, yeah, it's just some thoughts but i find it's interesting to let people involve in such application development..

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/patrickj patrickj

      Though it's nice to think about community involvement, I think it would be exceptionally hard to manage that. I think Apple needs to just allocate some of their billions to staffing up – properly and professionally – in this area.

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  • http://13apps.com 13apps

    I’m pretty sure they (Apple) are aware of the mess that they’re in. To me it looks like they’re going through a transition to get more organized. In no time they can announce a much faster, better and fair system. Or they’re intentionally trying to keep this process slow for some reason I don’t know… My app got approved 3 days ago, and sometimes it shows in the search sometimes it doesn’t. So it’s not only the approval process that’s inconsistent, everything’s pretty buggy after the app is in the store too…

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/patrickj patrickj

      I hope you're right about the transition and things getting better. Not sure how optimistic I am at least for the short term, as it is nearly 1.5 years since the App Store launched.