updated 11:25 am EST, Fri December 30, 2011
Apple, developers using workarounds
A 100-tester limit for iOS apps is causing problems for developers, says the Wall Street Journal. Apple imposes the cap on its standard-level developer accounts; a Journal source claims that Apple picked 100 thinking it would be a large enough sample for most companies but still easy enough to manage. For some developers, though, this is not enough.
Instagram, for instance, paid for a second standard account earlier this year, gaining 100 more tester slots. A Journal source suggests that Apple doesn't encourage such tactics, but that the action doesn't violate terms of service either. In 2010, Apple itself started letting more companies sign up for enterprise developer accounts, which cost $299 per year but allow anyone in a business to test software. Prior to that point the enterprise option was limited to businesses with at least 500 workers.
Around the time it bought the extra standard account, Instagram is also said to have started working with TestFlight, a company which distributes test versions of apps. Before that Instagram sent Apple UDIDs for each tester, and then emailed the testers large files to download and sync. The obstacles proved too much for some testers, and so some of them stopped participating, according to Instagram co-founder Mike Krieger. Under TestFlight, Krieger explains that testers are using test builds more often and providing greater feedback.
Another developer, DoubleDutch, is reportedly paying $60 a month to Pieceable Software to help bypass Apple restrictions. Pieceable's approach involves creating web versions of apps, which -- while having a blindspot in terms of hardware features like cameras or GPS -- lets DoubleDutch clients like TED test and sign off on apps without having to register them as testers with Apple.