Thursday, May 16, 2024

Delta’s 10-Year Journey to the Top of the App Store

David Pierce:

On this episode of The Vergecast, Testut joins the show to tell us the full Delta story. He describes his early attempts at building emulators, the first time he almost made it onto the App Store, the process of building the alternative app store AltStore, what it was like to watch regulators around the world take aim at Apple, and much more.

Amazingly, his GBA4iOS app got 10 million downloads outside the App Store more than a decade ago.

He then went to a WWDC lab and talked with Apple directly about how to get Delta into the App Store. He did exactly what they told him would be allowed, but after a year of work they changed their mind and rejected the app, anyway.

This year, he tried to get the AltStore PAL marketplace ready for day one with iOS 17.4, but Apple wasn’t prepared and held up the launch for over a month. They surely knew that Delta and emulators would be popular and so changed the guidelines to avoid the bad look of these apps being exclusive to the EU. They then approved a knock-off app based on Testut’s old open-source code before allowing Delta itself to be available.

Paulo Andrade:

It feels like App Review just likes to pick on me. I’ve been on the receiving end of silly rejections for way too many years. Be it for my own apps or for my employers. And the feeling like your powerless never goes away.

I’ve submitted a new app today, it got rejected 3 times for 3 completely different reasons. It was just approved. All the while I never uploaded a new binary. I just argued my way to approval and changed some metadata.

I’ve lost count how many times I’ve said to myself to switch to web apps. Just to avoid all the gate keeping.

With all the recent changes in the EU regarding alternative App Stores, I’m surprised many people focus on the money when I feel the most pressing issue with the App Store is their relation with devs.


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