Apple, in its response to the FCC regarding App Store rejections, states:
There are more than 40 full-time trained reviewers, and at least two different reviewers study each application so that the review process is applied uniformly. … We receive about 8,500 new applications and updates every week….
First, some assumptions:
- Two reviewers study each app, but let’s assume that the second review is not as thorough as the first; for example, the second reviewer may be given a list of areas the first reviewer would like a second set of eyes on. So let’s consider the app store to have a single reviewer for each app, but only 30 reviewers.
- Reviewers work five days per week, eight hours per day.
(Changes to these assumptions will naturally change the below result a little, but I don’t think there’s room for order-of-magnitude changes here.)
So we have 8500 new apps per week. Divided by 30 reviewers gives us 283 apps per reviewer per week. Divided by 5 days per week gives us 57 apps per day. Divided by 8 hours per day gives us 7 apps per hour. Sixty minutes per hour divided by that number gives us 8½ minutes spent reviewing each app submission.
(Edited to add: If you think a more realistic work schedule would be six days per week, ten hours per day, we get 12¾ minutes per submission.)
I’m a big fan of the iPhone as a consumer. But if I were an app developer, I’d compare that number to my expected developer-hours (rather, -months or -years), and consider the inconsistent review results, arbitrary rejection reasons, and lack of transparency into the process, and think very hard before committing much effort to the platform.