A few small changes to the way applications are listed and reviewed on Apple's App Store should help ease the tension somewhat between the company and developers.
Apple made a few changes to the App Store over the weekend that should cheer up developers, even if the underlying issues remain unaddressed.
Reviews for App Store applications must now be filled out by someone who has actually purchased the application in question, making it more difficult for developers to pump up their own application with favorable reviews as well as for rival developers to "Astroturf" a competitor's application with fake reviews. Applications will also now be listed according to their original release date; before this weekend, an update to an application reset the release date to the time when the application was released, changing the order in which applications are listed in the App Store. (Links via AppleInsider.)
As developer Matt Gemmell noted, the move at least shows Apple is listening to some developer concerns over how the App Store is run. However, the basic question of what is permitted on the App Store, and what isn't, remains unanswered.
It seems probable that Apple has been simply overwhelmed this quarter with iPhone applications, as we draw near the three-month anniversary of the launch of the App Store, and that further changes may be afoot as the concept matures. Apple's quiet deliberate nature has frustrated developers to date, but those frustrations may ease if Apple can address some of the major concerns while keeping focused on the main goal: selling a bunch of iPhones.