App Store is an application marketplace developed and maintained by Apple Inc. specifically for iOS and iPadOS devices. It serves as a platform for users to find, download, and install approved mobile applications built with Apple’s iOS Software Development Kit (SDK). Initially released on July 10, 2008, with 500 apps available, the number of apps peaked at about 2.2 million in 2017, but declined later due to the removal of outdated or 32-bit apps. As of 2021, the App Store has more than 1.8 million apps.
Apple highlights the App Store’s contribution to the “app economy,” citing job creation and paying developers more than $155 billion to date. However, the App Store has faced criticism from both developers and government regulators. The main concerns revolve around Apple’s alleged monopoly and the 30% cut in app revenue, which many see as excessive. In October 2021, the Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM) determined that Apple’s in-app fees are anti-competitive and demanded changes to Apple’s in-app payment system policies.
Despite the controversies, the App Store remains a central hub for iOS and iPadOS users to access a wide range of apps, expanding the capabilities of their devices and facilitating diverse digital experiences.
History of App Store :
The App Store is a digital distribution platform for mobile applications developed and maintained by Apple Inc. It was originally introduced in 2008 in conjunction with the release of the iPhone 3G. Initially, Apple did not intend to allow third-party developers to create native apps for iOS, but after facing backlash, they released a software development kit (SDK) in March 2008. The app store quickly gained popularity. and in-app purchases became the dominant way to monetize apps, especially games.
Following the success of the App Store, the term “app store” became widely adopted to refer to similar services for mobile devices. Apple filed for a trademark with the term “App Store” in 2008, but faced legal challenges from Amazon. Despite this, the App Store continued to grow and expand.
In addition to the iPhone, Apple introduced the Mac App Store for its macOS operating system in 2011, allowing users to download and install apps for their Mac computers.
Over the years, Apple made several changes to the App Store to improve app visibility and improve the user experience. They introduced search ads for developers to promote their apps, allowed developers to respond to customer reviews, and redesigned the App Store interface in 2017 to focus on editorial content and daily highlights.
The App Store faced criticism and legal challenges from developers and regulators, alleging monopolistic practices and high fees. Apple implemented a Small Business Program in 2020, easing the revenue cut for developers who earn less than $1 million per year. They also faced a high-profile lawsuit from Epic Games regarding app store policies.
In recent developments, Apple added support for unlisted apps and began making preparations to open side-loading and alternative app stores on iOS, as well as opening up NFC and camera systems to the competition. These changes are in part a response to regulatory requirements and demands from various governments.
Development and Monetization :
The iOS SDK is a software development kit that allows developers to create mobile apps for iOS devices. It is specifically designed for Mac users and is not available for Windows PC. The SDK gives developers access to various iOS device features and services, as well as an iPhone simulator for testing and development purposes. It works alongside Xcode, Apple’s integrated development environment, and supports programming languages like Swift and Objective-C.
To publish apps on the App Store, developers must enroll in the Apple Developer Program, which requires a $99 annual fee. However, fee waivers are available to nonprofit organizations, educational institutions, and governments in certain countries. Developers can choose between different monetization models for their apps, such as offering them for free, making in-app purchases, implementing subscription-based services, or charging for the app itself. In 2016, Apple introduced a new 85/15 revenue split for subscriptions, favoring developers who retain users for longer periods.
The App Store has been a significant success, with China surpassing the United States in revenue generation in 2016. In June 2017, Apple announced that the App Store had generated more than $70 billion for developers since its launch in 2008, and this figure had reached $155 billion. by 2020.
In addition to iOS, the App Store is also available on tvOS, the operating system for Apple TV. Developers can create apps for Apple TV using the tvOS SDK, which includes support for various iOS APIs. Porting existing iOS apps to Apple TV is relatively easy with Xcode. Apple provides free access to Xcode for registered developers, and they can customize the interface of their Apple TV app. Developer tools also include a Parallax exporter and previewer for creating visually appealing app icons for Apple TV.
App Store App approval process :
The App Store app approval process is the process through which apps are reviewed and evaluated before they are made available for download on Apple’s App Store platform. The goal of this process is to ensure that apps meet Apple’s guidelines and standards for quality, security, and user experience. Here are the key steps involved in the App Store app approval process:
- App Submission: Developers submit their apps to the App Store through Apple’s developer portal, providing information such as app description, screenshots, icons, and other metadata. They also need to adhere to Apple’s App Store Review Guidelines, which outline the rules and requirements for app content, functionality, and behavior.
- App Review: Once an app is submitted, it goes through a review process conducted by Apple’s App Review team. This team evaluates the app based on the guidelines and checks for any violations or issues. The review process typically involves manual testing and inspection of the app.
- Review Time: The duration of the review process varies and can range from a few hours to several days, depending on factors like app complexity, the number of submissions, and the current workload of the review team. Apple provides estimated review times for developers to have a general idea, but these are not exact.
- App Status Updates: During the review process, developers can track the status of their app through the App Store Connect portal. They may receive notifications or communications from Apple regarding any issues or additional information required.
- Rejection or Approval: After the review, Apple will either approve the app or reject it. If the app is approved, it will be made available on the App Store for users to download. If the app is rejected, Apple will provide reasons for the rejection, often accompanied by guidelines or suggestions on how to resolve the issues.
- App Updates: If an app requires updates or bug fixes, developers can submit new versions of the app through the developer portal. These updates will also go through the review process to ensure they meet the guidelines.
It’s important to note that Apple’s review process aims to maintain a high standard for app quality, security, and user experience. By following the guidelines and best practices provided by Apple, developers can increase their chances of app approval and a smooth review process.