Friday, November 20, 2009

Apple and the app store discussion

Just got a link to Paul Grahams essay about why Apple is doing wrong with the approval of apps.

He writes:
The way Apple runs the App Store has harmed their reputation with programmers more than anything else they've ever done.

Although many programmers are using Apple, it's not only build for them. I guess the problem why programmers are complaining is simple greediness. They expect their share from the big app business and wonder, why apple shuts the door.

Paul says:
Their fundamental problem is that they don't understand software...They treat iPhone apps the way they treat the music they sell through iTunes.

Yes, and this is understandable. Because it's their shop and they are responsible. Yes, they are doing mistakes with delayed approvals and some denies were wrong. That happens. But in general, from a users perspective, I totally agree in Apples rules.

Another quote is about the delayed appoval of updates:
By breaking software development, Apple gets the opposite of what they intended: the version of an app currently available in the App Store tends to be an old and buggy one.

So Apple says to programmers, please develop the best product first and submit then, instead of being fast and then send update after update. That what I would call Quality Management. Yes, I do like updates when the fix bugs, But I like more products with no bugs at all and updates with new features.

The misconception is that programmers might see themselfs now as part of Apple, not as the community anymore. Before, they may developed Software for Apple Computers, but not for Uncle Steve himself. Now they may see themself as kind of freelancers and wonder, why Steve still doesn't like to talk to them.

It's kind of simple today to have your own iphone app done within days. That makes things messy. It's like maintaining a big market hall: Once people selling rotten beef, you need to take action. If they don't keep their booth clean, they need to be punished. If they cheat as well. It's your market hall. They can make some nice money. But they can't takeover.

P.S.: One more thing. Paul says:
The main reason there are so many iPhone apps is that so many programmers have iPhones. They may know, because they read it in an article, that Blackberry has such and such market share. But in practice it's as if RIM didn't exist. If they're going to build something, they want to be able to use it themselves, and that means building an iPhone app.

I disagree. I think the reason is because the SDK is a great tool for programmers, iphone is a consumers phone and not a business phone and it has a great usability. That's why Nokia Ovi store is still struggling.


Vu said...

If you ever created an application and waited approval for 3 months (worse if it was not approved for a heaven reason) you would have different point of view.

I think Paul is talking on side of developers, not of consumers. As a developer, you can never make sure your app have no bugs no matter how careful you are or with the best testing tools.

About the quality of apps in Apple Store, I can tell many are really poor. So I don't think the approval process applied by Apple is all about quality.

Thomas Wanhoff said...

Yeah, I understand that Apple was overwhelmed by the apps and programmers. And I also understand that they have issues dealing with outside people. I had that experience when they started with podcasts in the itunes store. They were simply not talking to us and hiding in an unknown office location.
And technically I understand that software is always an process, but thats also just bad marketing. Wouldn't buy a car if the sellers says that to me.
Regarding the quality: so that means because there is already crap they should care about it anymore?