March 27, 2009

iPhone App Store: 30,000 apps, but slowing

148appspic.jpg Shortly before 4 p.m. EDT on Thursday, eight months after it opened with 500 applications for the iPhone and iPod touch, Apple’s App Store passed the 30,000 mark, according to the count maintained by 148appss, which updates its list automatically. Apple 2.0 reports.

quotemarksright.jpgThat’s up from 28,000 apps nine days ago and considerably higher than the official figure of 25,000 that Apple has been using.

But the flood of new titles seems to have slowed, and there are signs that the App Store’s infrastructure is straining to keep up with what it already has in hand. Complaints from developers — always a contentious lot — have increased in recent days. Among their latest grievances:

-- Delays in approval. Although Apple claims that 96% of apps submitted in February were approved — 98% within seven days — reports persist of apps languishing in the queue for months.

-- Delayed payments. The waits for monthly payments have grown longer this year, on occasion violating the contract that says they must be paid within 45 days of the end of the month.

-- A punitive refund policy. As Techcrunch’s Leena Rao reports, developers get only 70% of each sale, but if a user demands a refund within 90 days, Apple makes the developer return 100% of the sale price.

-- Failure to police the App Store. Several developers are loudly complaining that clones of their original apps have been approved by Apple and are now being sold by copycats on the App Store.

The slowdown in App Store growth is relatively small and quite recent. In early March, the store was adding new titles at the rate of 250 a day. Over the last nine days, the rate of growth has slowed to less than 223 per day.quotesmarksleft.jpg

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