For Apple app developers, the most stressful time of the year

Annual holiday lockdown of App Store means missed sales for tardy app makers

For app makers, Christmas Day is the big payout, when millions of Apple devices found under tinsel-bedecked trees around the world are used almost immediately to download games and applications from the company's online App Store.

If, that is, the app developers have products on the App Store's electronic shelves.

The problem, as the New York Times writes, is that:

Each year around Christmas, Apple stops accepting app submissions and updating its store for a while. This year the shutdown starts on Thursday and runs for eight days.

In the weeks leading up to the cutoff, developers often pull all-nighters so they can get their work to Apple in time.

Even then, the review process consists of a bit more than a rubber stamp. I've read comments from developers complaining that it can take up to three weeks for an app to be approved (or not).

(Also see: Making money with mobile apps)

Which makes it tempting to rush apps out the door to avoid missing the annual App Store cutoff date. This can create its own risks, as shoddy apps literally beg for negative user reviews, thus scaring off other potential buyers (or downloaders, if we're talking about free apps).

That problem is exacerbated during the eight days Apple shuts down the App Store each year because developers have no way to submit needed fixes.

However, not only is it important for app makers to get their products in the App Store before the annual shutdown, they want their titles to already be on the download charts that new device owners will be looking at for guidance on Christmas morning and in the few days after, as SlashGear points out.

Further reason to avoid procrastinating, you app developers!

More than 18 billion apps have been downloaded from the App Store since it opened in July 2008. The store features more than a half-million apps.

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