Developers, mark Thursday 20 December in your diaries as perhaps the most colossal pile-up of high-profile new iOS apps and drastic price-cuts to existing products of 2012.

Why? Because Apple has announced its holiday shutdown plans for the App Store, with its iTunes Connect service to close from Friday 21 December to Friday 28 December.

During that time, developers won’t be able to access iTunes Connect, nor will new apps be released or price changes implemented, according to an email sent by the company.

What that means, in turn, is a massive jockeying for position on the App Store charts as they get frozen for Christmas. It’s already a tradition for games publishers like EA and Gameloft to drop many or all of their games to 69p in the last week before the holiday shutdown, for example.

Christmas Day and Boxing Day are two of the most lucrative sales days of the year for the App Store, thanks to millions of people unwrapping new iPhones, iPads and iPod touches. Last Christmas, Flurry claimed that 6.8m new iOS and Android devices were activated on 25 December, with 242m downloads across their respective stores on that day alone.

Smaller developers may duck out of this year’s rush in favour of January releases to escape the pile-up, but larger firms can now start finalising their Christmas strategies.