The ongoing antitrust fight between Epic Games and Apple has disclosed yet another set of details. This time, it's a data dump on the number of applications submitted to Apple's App Store –and rejected.
The documentation is intended to demonstrate how Apple's review process works and that, despite the large number of apps submitted to the digital storefront, the vast majority of them are rejected.
In reality, Apple's app review process blocked more applications between 2017 and 2019 than the year before. In 2017, the average rate of rejection was 33%. The next year, the number jumped to 35%, and in 2019, the total rejection rate for the evaluation process was 36%.
Even so, the number of apps submitted to the App Store on a daily basis is staggering.
According to MacRumors, Apple received an average of 5 million app submissions between 2017 and 2019. Apple received 5,176,583 software submissions in 2017 and rejected 1,694,664 of them. After developers submitted 4,793,826 apps, the review process rejected 1,697,787 of them in 2018. Finally, in 2019, 4,808,685 apps were submitted, with 1,747,278 being rejected.
The following is an excerpt from today's report:
"According to Apple's documentation, the App Store receives 100,000 submissions every week, which are handled by 500 Apple-hired human experts. Apps are reviewed by Apple-designed software to search for malware and policy breaches before being sent to a human reviewer.
"Mercury, a testing tool that allows Apple to see inside apps and search for secret code or violence, runs through static and dynamic analysis methods, and there are other review tools that Apple has dubbed "Magellan" and "Columbus." After automated testing, apps are reviewed by humans."
Apple Marketing Director Trystan Kosmynka was the subject of some cross-examination. They were specifically questioned about how mistakes in the evaluation process led to scam apps being made available in the App Store. When asked if the review process is futile, Kosmynka responded that it isn't, but that Apple must continue to improve.
For the better part of the morning, Apple marketing director Trystan Kosmynka was grilled, and Epic lawyers brought up a hot topic: App Store errors. Kosmynka was questioned about some of the applications that make it through the review phase, such as a school shooting app that he claimed he was "dumbfounded" had been overlooked in an email.
When asked if the app review process is pointless because of errors made sometimes, Kosmynka responded that all it means is that Apple must "continuously improve." He claims that Apple is constantly working to close loopholes and that without app inspection, iOS will be a "free for all" that would be "very dangerous to consumers and children."
The Epic vs. Apple trial will be extended for two more weeks, with the first week ending today. During the third week, Apple CEO Tim Cook and other executives are scheduled to testify.
The App Store's popularity has become a double-edged sword for Apple, especially in terms of the review process. With such a high number of apps being submitted regularly, it seems reasonable to assume that some of them would be problematic. Despite this, many people seem to believe Apple should have a perfect accuracy score.