Apple has notified developers that it is ready to take submissions for iPad applications to be sold on its own App Store. Developers were informed that if they want to have their app run through the approval process and ready for the April 3 launch day, they must get their app in by 5 pm PDT, March 27.
Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) made it clear that only apps submitted for the initial review will be considered for the grand opening of the iPad App Store. They must be built and tested using iPhone SDK 3.2 beta 5 and only that version. Developers will receive additional information about submitting their app for final review before the iPad ships.
Apple released the fifth beta of the iPhone SDK 3.2 on Wednesday, just days after Beta 4 came out. Normally Apple ships a new beta every two weeks, so the shortened release time would seem to indicate Apple is near completion of its development work.
The SDK (Software Development Kit) has a simulator for testing the applications, since very few devs have the actual hardware. This has produced a little bit of angst, as The Unofficial Apple Weblog (TUAW) points out, software simulators are not particularly good at getting an accurate measure of performance. "Applications that appear to be completely operational and fully debugged on the simulator may flake out or crash on the device itself," noted TUAW writer Erica Sadun.
Then again, life isn't easy for those with the actual hardware, either. According to Bloomberg BusinessWeek, those that have or want to have iPads for testing have to engage in secrecy practices that are equal parts comical and paranoid. For starters, developers have to sign a 10-page contract that, of course, bars them from disclosing information about the iPad.
Developers must also promise to keep the iPad isolated in a room with blacked-out windows and be tethered to a fixed object, like a table, according to developers who spoke to BusinessWeek. Apple won't send out an iPad until potential partners send in photographic proof of compliance.
Apple began taking pre-orders for the iPad on March 12, briefly overloading its servers. There have been estimates and guestimates of how many have been sold, although there is no official number of how many orders have been taken.
The iPad ships on April 3, which is a Saturday. Those who placed a pre-order can get their device at a local Apple Store if Saturday delivery is not available to them and they don't want to wait until the following Monday.