There has been a lot said and written recently regarding the App Store review process, times taken and the lack of transparency in the process. Panic's Transmit and PCalc seem to have become (perhaps unwittingly) the poster-children for App Store policies that have been viewed by some as confusing and inconsistent.
Having had cause to deal with an App Store rejection, I felt it might be valuable to reveal some of the workings of the App Store system as I witnessed them recently.
We work in a highly regulated market and this requires us to submit documentation to Apple to prove that we are eligible to operate within the regulations. This took a long time initially but once all the documentation had been supplied and approved our App was published and has been live for a number of years now.
Late last year there was a change in the regulations which meant that we needed to get further documentation approved. This was all done on time and correctly, however I failed to provide it to the App Store review team and in mid December Apple advised us that we needed to provide the new documentation within three weeks.
Unfortunately, due to Christmas holidays, I didn't see this until late and by then iTunes Connect was in its Holiday Shutdown. On 30 Dec when iTunes Connect came back on-line many of us were still on holiday and this caused further delays. Last Friday Apple pulled our Apps from the App Store. I would like to reiterate at this point that this was entirely my fault and if I had followed the rules and the instructions from the review team correctly, this would never have happened,
But there it was - all our Apps had been "removed from sale" and we were running around working out what to do. So - a little late in the piece - I provided the correct documentation by filing an appeal. This was completed by midday on a Friday and I was pretty much resigned to our Apps being unavailable over the weekend and possibly longer. I did have an email address of an old contact I had at the App Store Review team which I had not contacted for 2 years, so I sent them an email too on the basis that it was unlikely to do any harm.
By 8pm that evening all three Apps were back in the App Store - I received an email from my contact (whom, I have never met and only email when I have a problem) making sure that everything was OK and providing me with another contact email address of someone that was now in a better position to help in future. Finally I received and email from this new contact checking to see that everything was all OK and confirming that if I had any problems in future that they would be happy to help.
This is, I believe above a beyond the sort of service we hope to get from the App Store review team. I was made to feel as though they cared about our problem as much as I did and that they worked hard to turn things around quickly.
Maybe I am lucky that I had a contact in the App Store - maybe the process when an App has been removed from sale is different than the standard review process, maybe our industry has a dedicated team and other Apps don't get this kind of attention. We probably will never know - however what I can say that this was as well a run process as I have had from any service team and was at odds with much that I had read recently and so probably worth sharing.