Puppies 1.0, the third app in the family, was released last night, May 4th. Again, there were unexpected glitches with Apple's posting of the app and I am starting to form a theory of how the release dates may really work.
The app was approved for sale by Apple on the evening of May 4th and tagged with a release date of May 3rd (the release date I had chosen). Last night, the app could be found on the App Store using search, but was not listed under the Entertainment category nor listed under the FXT Labs app group; everything did appear this morning, so it may just be a matter of that info propagating through the store. But that is really another issue.
Back to release dates. This time, the situation was reversed compared to that we went through with Smile. For Puppies, the app was posted to the App Store as soon as Apple approved it for sale because my chosen release date (May 3rd) had passed before the app had been approved. That's how it should be. The problem, again, was that the app is tagged with a release date of May 3rd and that meant that once again we never made it to the first couple of screens of the listing of most recent apps (listing sorted by release date). We started at the bottom of the third screen this morning and disappeared to later pages soon afterwards.
So, here is the theory: an app is posted to the App Store at the LATER of the release date chosen by the developer and the date Apple approves it for sale, BUT it is tagged with a release date equal to the EARLIER of the two dates. If this theory is correct, the only way to ensure that you can make it to the first couple of pages of the latest releases is to keep adjusting your release date in iTunes Connect to be the date of the current day. That way, your release date will be equal to the date of Apple's approval for sale and it will not matter whether the app is tagged with the earlier or later of the two dates because they will be the same date. Of course, this is a bit tedious and mine is just a theory. But we have got one more app approaching release to try out this strategy. Stay tuned.