If you’re a business, it’s hard to plan your budget, release schedule, promotional work, etc. around an app’s release in the iPhone’s App Store, since you basically submit your application and then wait for Apple to get around to approving it, the time frame for which is inconsistent and not at all transparent. Well, one company has decided not to wait for Apple’s approval to begin delivering their solution to their customer’s, albeit in a temporary way.
The makers of ProcessAway, a credit card payment app for the iPhone, have decided to begin offering their app for free to interested parties via ad hoc installation. The version distributed is a 30-day free trial that they will renew upon request until Apple approves the application and offers it for sale via the App Store. Once (if) the app is approved, customers who want to keep using the app will have to pay the full price, which is currently listed at $19.99.
Podcaster tried something similar when they were originally blocked from App Store access, and Apple eventually came down on them, disallowing distribution via ad hoc install. In that case, the app had already been rejected, so it is a bit of a different scenario. RapaDev LLC, the company behind ProcessAway, claims that they aren’t trying to oppose or bypass Apple, but just want to be able to get their products in the hands of customers as soon as possible, without waiting around for approval.
It’s unclear how Apple will react to this move. On the one hand, they definitely won’t like the impression it gives that developers can choose to bypass their authority if it seems more expedient. On the other, RapaDev isn’t trying to take away revenue, just offer a free trial to those interested, which should generate more sales. It just feels like something Apple would hate. We’ll see.