The oft reported accounts of Apple's App Store developers finding faster approval times since the New Year holiday may have more to do with the impending announcement of the fabled tablet device than any iPhone concerns. As has been discussed in nearly every tech forum that mentions Apple, the struggles some developers have faced getting their Apps approved in the App Store has been one of the few (if not the only) blemish on the iPhone's domination of the mobile phone market. All that is changing though.
AppleInsider carries a success story today. "Developer Jared Judd, creator of the application "Cootie Lert," told AppleInsider that his software was approved by Apple in just 48 hours -- and it was submitted over the weekend." The two-day turnaround is in stark contrast to reports of wait times in the range of two to three weeks (or more) since the App Store launched, even prompting responses from Apple's Phil Schiller directly to several prominent developers.
So is it that Apple is finally showing some love to the developers that have made the iPhone the most versatile smart phone device on the planet? Maybe. Maybe not. This could have more to do with a device that does not even exist (yet). Consider the fanboy-favorite rumor, the tablet. One of the most prominent reasons for Apple's success with its smaller devices (iPod and iPhone) is that they maintain a closely and meticulously guarded user experience. With the jailbreak community feeling particularly justified due to Apple's lack of efficiency in the App Store approval process, the forthcoming tablet device might be a tough sell for developers to continue to stay inside Apple's sphere of development.
And make no mistake, Apple wants this device to be closed. At least for the most part. Apple wants to control the flow of media to anything that is not a Mac as much as possible. By upgrading the efficiency of the App Store approval process, developers can again feel good about developing inside that platform. But this is not just a power play by Apple either. In fact, the closed system is good for consumers as well. By maintaining a standard of quality as best they can (yes some interesting Apps have slipped through), Apple can provide the most seamless and user friendly experience possible. Contrast that with early reports of the trouble Google is having with customer service issues regarding its Nexus One phone.
So as the tablet announcement gets closer, expect to see more stories about how great the App Store is getting for developers. Expect Apple to continue to add more features and greater support to developers and expect those developers to return the favor by continuing to develop within Apple's policy guidelines (both for the iPhone and the tablet).