Apple announced yesterday that it's accepting submissions for the iPad App Store, with devs being told that they have a week to get their apps submitted to be available on Launch Day: April 3. They shouldn't expect to have an iPad to test it on, though: an interesting story in BusinessWeek
outlines the steps developers must take to be able to have access to a pre-release iPad, including chaining it down and blacking out all the windows.
Devs were sent an email on Friday that said that any iPad apps submitted for approval must be in by 5 pm PDT, March 27 in order to have a chance of being accepted by April 3, the day iPads officially go on sale in the US. Apps that are submitted via iTunes Connect
before that time will get "an initial review" by email on their "readiness for the grand opening." Devs who want to have their apps available when the iPad is, though, need to submit it ASAP: "only apps submitted for the initial review will be considered for the grand opening of the iPad App Store." The apps must be built and tested with iPhone SDK 3.2 beta 5 and only
that version: that's the beta that was released on Wednesday
. The SDK has only an iPad "simulator," though, and few apps have been tested on an actual iPad.
There's a reason for that. BusinessWeek has a story
about the cartoonishly stringent secrecy arrangements Apple is forcing developers and peripheral manufacturers through before letting them have access to an iPad. First, people who want an iPad just a couple of weeks
before they go on sale are forced to sign an agreement - reportedly ten pages long
- promising not to disclose any information about the device. Then they must set up a hermetically-sealed chamber where the iPad must be kept isolated. The room must have blacked-out windows and must have a table or other "fixed object" to which a chain or "tether" must be affixed. The iPad must remain tethered to that fixed object so that nobody can remove it from the room, and Apple won't send out an iPad unless and until potential testers send photographic evidence that they've complied with the rules.
Apple is renowned for its secrecy, but this is a bit much, even for them. There is little that is not known about the iPad at this point, with the exception of minute details about its hardware configuration or which native apps will be included. And we are just two weeks
away from the launch. Restricting developers to just a software simulator for testing seems pretty much like a guarantee that a number of apps will crash the first time they're actually executed on iPad silicon. Maybe there's some wonderful secret power that the iPad has that we don't know about yet - levitation, maybe, or the ability to make time run backwards - but this seems like a foolish risk on Apple's part.
We'll all know on April 4 if it was worth it.