Apple Launches RSS Feed for iPhone Developer News

Apple announced an RSS feed for iPhone developers, opening a communication channel for news and announcements surrounding the App Store. Although the App Store has proven a considerable success for Apple, currently hosting more than 100,000 apps, its size and exponential growth have led to outsider calls for more proactive regulation, including the weeding-out of useless apps and fake positive reviews. Apple also announced that iTunes Connect, a tool for managing applications and accessing reports, will be offline from Dec. 23 to Dec. 28.

Apple has launched an RSS feed for iPhone developers, creating a new communication channel for news and announcements surrounding App Store submissions and reviews. The announcement of the RSS feed comes days after Apple yanked a developer from the site, allegedly for posting faked reviews.

"You can now subscribe to a new RSS feed that will allow you to instantly receive updates to the iPhone Developer News and Announcements," read a Dec. 8 posting on Apple's Developer Connection site. "Get the latest information on a wide range of topics including tips on submitting apps to the App Store, current turnaround time for app review, program updates, development and testing techniques, and much more."

Users can subscribe to the RSS feed through this link.

On Dec. 8, Apple also announced that iTunes Connect, the tool used to manage applications and access reports, would be unavailable from Dec. 23 to Dec. 28, with service resuming on Dec. 29. The posting on the Developer Connection site offered no explanation for the downtime.

The announcement about the RSS feed comes as Apple makes attempts to clean up the App Store. On Dec. 7, Apple yanked more than 1,000 apps by Molinker from the storefront, likely in response to allegations that the developer had been posting fake positive reviews for its products.

In a Dec. 7 e-mail to the Appfreak blog, Molinker expressed confusion over its 1,100 apps being pulled: "We got an e-mail from Apple yesterday [Dec. 6] which told us our contract is changed to pending status... We had contacted Apple for [an explanation of] such sudden changes, hope we can get quick response and actions from Apple."

While Apple has enjoyed considerable success with the App Store-by November, it boasted 100,000 applications, with the company claiming some 2 billion downloads-that growth has come with increased calls from outsiders to impose a consistent regulatory framework on the store's day-to-day processes, particularly with regard to application approval. When Apple has pulled applications in the past, it has usually been in response to considerable public outcry; in April, Apple removed a "Baby Shaker" app from the store after groups complained about that shaking a virtual infant on an iPhone was socially irresponsible.

Whether or not Apple imposes a more proactive system for weeding out useless applications, and preventing false reviews from being posted, they will likely have a lot more territory to monitor over the next 12 months: on Dec. 3, research company IDC predicted that the App Store will expand threefold by the end of 2010. "The growth in mobile devices will ignite an explosion in mobile applications, with the number of iPhone apps tripling to 300,000 and Android apps surging by a factor of five or more," the firm opined in a research note.