Apple plans on keeping the App Store open to developer submissions through the holidays, in a radical change from past years. This could have a sizable impact on developers’ workflows as they head into the end of the year—which is often the busiest season for many who build and maintain consumer-facing apps.
“Due to anticipated high volume, plan to send time-sensitive submissions early,” reads the note on Apple’s developer site. “Please note that reviews may take longer to complete from November 24 to 28 and December 23 to 27.”
In previous years, Apple’s habit of shutting down Apple Store Connect would force developers to rush as fast as possible to squish bugs and generally prepare their apps for the holiday season. If you thought it was strange that one of the world’s largest tech companies would close one of the world’s busiest mobile developer portals during a crucial time of year for app installs—well, you weren’t alone. Evidently, Apple took developers’ complaints about the shutdown to heart.
It’s been an interesting (and perhaps odd) year for developers who interact with Apple’s App Store. In late August, Apple rolled out a handful of changes to the App Store, including a new ability to inform customers about ways to pay for apps and services outside of Apple’s ecosystem.
That change was due to a lawsuit settlement between Apple and a group of smaller developers who argued that the tech giant’s App Store practices were monopolistic. Apple also established a fund to “assist” smaller developers, although many details are still forthcoming.
The next month, another long-running court case—this one between Apple and Epic Games, the creator of the ultra-popular “Fortnite”—finally reached its conclusion. The resulting injunction allowed developers to offer links to payments outside the App Store without fearing Apple’s wrath. However, the court also concluded that Apple wasn’t a “monopolist.”
Given all that legal drama, perhaps it’s no surprise that Apple wants to appear extra-helpful to developers at the moment. Developers no doubt appreciate the ability to submit and tweak their iOS apps during the crucial holiday season—although many would probably be happier about yet another Apple fee cut.