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“unexpected additional time for review” – Hunh?

By deans ~ August 15th, 2009. Filed under: Random Thoughts.

We’ve submitted four apps to the App store.  With the exception of the topic of this rant, all were eventually approved.  We’ve also had four updates approved.  Since I’m completely paranoid about the consequences of having an app rejected (starting over at the beginning of the approval queue, missed sales opportunities, feeling like I’ve violated some “rule”), I’m extremely conscientious about doing everything that I can to get our apps/updates approved the first time.  We definitely scale back some of our ideas to ensure that we’ll pass the review.  So far, we’ve been pretty good.  We’ve only had one submission rejected, and that was a minor build issue that was corrected with about 2 seconds of work in Xcode.

Our approval times have ranged from close to 3 weeks to just 3 days.  I’ve given up trying to predict an approval date.  There doesn’t seem to be any correlation to any metric that I can observe.  The only thing that I’m sure of is that we’ve usually been roughly in line with the historic monthly averages reported by 148apps.biz.

We recently submitted our first free app — a “lite” version of iPuck.  Since iPuck has been approved four times (as a new app and three updates), I wasn’t expecting any problems with the free version.  It’s exactly the same codebase, with a preprocessor directive to limit play in a fashion that I thought would be appropriate for a trial version.  We’re just about at the two-week mark for the approval process, so I was hoping that we might hear back pretty soon.  Well, I did hear back, but not with the message that I wanted.  Instead, I received two, yep 2, “…requiring unexpected additional time for review…” emails, both for the “lite” flavor of iPuck.

I guess that the intent of the “unexpected additional time” message is to let us know that our app hasn’t been lost in the process, but it gives us no information beyond that.  I can’t help but wonder why it takes so long to approve a free version of an app that has already been approved four times.  There’s obviously no point in whining about the app store and its arcane processes, but it does feel good to rant.

Does anyone have any guesses regarding the delta between receipt of this message and the actual decision?

Update2009.09.24 – iPuckLite was finally approved yesterday — a total of 50 days from submission to approval.


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2 Responses to “unexpected additional time for review” – Hunh?

  1. bunnyhero

    have you heard anything at all from apple since you received the “unexpected additional time for review” email?

  2. deans

    We’ve contacted Apple twice. Once at six weeks, when we got back the ever popular “… still under review … no additional information to share … will update you with further status (whenever we decide to).” Basically, “Don’t call us. We’ll call you.”

    A few days later, we tried again, since we were approaching 7 weeks. The second inquiry was apparently not particularly appreciated, as we received an even more curt, and to the point, message that ended with, “[We] will update you with further status as soon as we are able.” Clearly they do not want us to annoy them while they refuse to approve our app.

    Thanks for asking.