Good, valid points made from Gruber’s observations, but it’s the Nintendo comparison that got me thinking:
The App Store. There are two schools of criticism about the iPhone App Store: The most vocal critics say that it is totally going in the wrong direction and should be doing what Google (GOOG) does with the Android Marketplace — offer users the option of downloading apps that aren’t vetted and approved. The other school says that Apple is going in the right direction, but is hurtling at great speed a few degrees off course. Gruber fears that the shouting from the first school is so loud that Apple may be ignoring the second as well. There are game consoles — like Nintendo’s — whose apps are as tightly controlled as Apple’s. And there are computer systems with app libraries nearly as large as the iPhone’s. But there’s never before been a tightly controlled system with 150,000 apps. “If it proves unsustainable,” asks Gruber, “what are they going to do?”
My kids own a couple of Nintendo DS’s and it interesting that Gruber brings Nintendo into the conversation.
Nintendo have a similar approach to Apple, in that all apps released on the DS must go through an approval process.
I can say that there are a lot of DS games that are certainly cash-in products with poor graphics and have a ‘Adobe Flash’ game feel.
There are also a lot of high quality games also, but it shows that even when you have a stringent approval process, crap can still get through, hence the multitude of fart apps, softcore porn, and repackaged Gutenburg books on Apple’s AppStore.
What is Apple to do? Well they must do something. At the moment it’s difficult to find good quality apps on the AppStore, and you have to wade through a lot of hay, to get to the needle you’re looking for.
I think the small screen of the iPhone doesn’t help. Apple keeps the UI of the AppStore on the iPhone very simple, but it’s this simplicity that stops you from doing more advanced searches.
The only real way I find decent apps, is to fall back on other forms of advertising, such as when apps are mentioned on podcasts and on blogs.
I’m fully supportive of Apple’s approval process, I understand why it’s needed, but finding apps amongst the ever growing number available is a problem that’s only going to get worse.