Internal Docs unveils Apple’s biggest ‘Columbus’ plan to improve app reviews

New internal documents filed as part of the Epic Games and Apple experiment Apple has revealed the biggest impetus in 2015 to improve its application review process App Store A project called ‘Columbus’.

On the fifth day of the trial, Apple’s Tristan Cosminka was asked about Columbus, describing it as “a move to invest heavily in app review automation and performance”.

Seen in a presentation from late 2015 I still, Apple talked about the need to automate application review, making the process more efficient. The presentation begins with a quote from Mike Feltzner of Pinterest who claims that Apple can do anything to reduce review times “This could be a very effective change to our ability to send better applications.”

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At the time, Apple was receiving more than 60,000 submissions a week from 155 different countries and 24 different applications. Apple has listed 910 different types of rejection reasons given for apps. Notes from the presentation stage:

The problem here is, the volume is huge and constantly growing. The problem is crazy … today there are 155 countries and 910 different types of rejection reasons. They are viewed manually each time (randomly) by different people starting from scratch. All of these decisions have been generating a lot of tension and bad choice between Apple and developers for longer than developers should have expected.

The presentation notes that in 2015, Apple recognized the presence of “tons of fraudulent applications” in the App Store, as noted in the reviews. Columbus’ goal is to overcome this, reducing the number of manual reviews and perceived review time for developers, and improving quality and consistency.

The presentation highlights some of the major impact areas, such as the top ten reasons for rejection. For example, 14% of applications were rejected because additional information was needed, the biggest single reason for rejection. Applications were also rejected for displaying errors (10%), bad interfaces, crashes and more.

Notes 60% of usage review submissions reveal updates instead of new apps, and 20% share ‘bug fixes and performance’ updates really annoying iMore’s Oliver Haslam.

The presentation shows that Apple considers mobile security company ‘Aptority’ to be a possible acquisition before being acquired by Symantec in 2018.

Documentation reveals that even in 2015 Apple was well aware of the issues surrounding application review and developer wait times, which are still a sticking point for some today. The lawyer for Friday’s epic took a strong line against Cosminka over the application review process, asking about applications that slipped through the net. The first week of the trial is now in the books, and the marketing of the epic games will resume on Monday with a series of testimonies from VP’s Matthew Weissinger.

Sophia Harrison

Part time worker

I'm Sophia Harrison working as a part-time staff at the Costco since the past year until I become as an author at the iron blade, hope I can use my experiences with the supermarkets here.

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