The continued Apple App Store dilemma

Whilst I’ve been banging on about the Apple iTunes App Store in recent posts, I think it’s fair to describe it as the best of a seriously bad bunch.

I’m pleased that mobile developers can finally innovate, get their app up on a super distribution platform and generate revenue. This is good.

Peter Lindgren (he of Mobile Documents fame — have you seen the video we published?) wrote to me this morning sending me an Engadget Mobile link and asking me this question:

Who on earth would dare to do business and solely rely upon the increasingly “jumpy “company on Infinity Lane in Cupertino?

The Engadget Mobile piece describes how the makers of Tweetie, MIR’s choice iPhone Twitter App, had version 1.3 of their software rejected from the App Store. Why? Because someone on Twitter was using offensive language. So, to be clear, Tweetie itself is free from offensive language. Twitter is not. How ridiculous.

Engadget comments that this is, “A sign that the App Store approval “process” is broken beyond repair.”

Agreed.

Engadget goes on to speculate that there may be a mass exodus of developers if this behaviour continues. Quite possibly. But then again what else is there? What alternatives are there? *Today*?

The App Store approval process is the one segment of Apple that doesn’t fit what we expect of the company.

Only one mouse button? Why?

[Insert a really good, if potentially over-confident, explanation about requiring desktop developers to stick to a unified approach to UI development]

You might not necessarily agree with the response, but at least you think some smart people had got together and decided upon it. Likewise with almost everything else Apple has done. It might not be your cup of tea but they’ve really *thought* about stuff.

Apart from the App Store.

Maybe it’s because, fundamentally, Apple DNA simply cannot cope with the variety and pace of the App Store. They’re not just shipping one software application in a 6 month period. They’re ‘shipping’ hundreds in a given week.

I think it’s safe to say that Apple’s App team can’t take the pace. Can’t handle the stress, the day-to-day reality of the model they’ve created.

Where’s the authority?

Where the Steveiness? Where’s the ‘Steve Jobs says YES or Steve Jobs says NO’ approach?

Dear Apple, please could we have some binary thinking. One or Zero. Yes it goes in the App Store. No it doesn’t.

The fuzzy logic around the App Store approvals process is making you look really, really, really stupid, Apple.

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4 Responses to The continued Apple App Store dilemma

  1. Alex Kerr March 13, 2009 at 7:49 am #

    Apple should base the yes/no process on whether the app contains illegal functionality or content – that's what the law is there for. No other criteria at all. Simplifies and streamlines the whole thing. It's Apple protectionism that's the problem. This is very much like when AOL thought of themselves as the one and only gateway to the internet, and look how much longevity that model had.

  2. TerenceEden March 13, 2009 at 11:01 am #

    Illegal where and for whom? Content legal in Europe may not be legal in the USA. Adult content may not be legal to show to minors.
    What if the app is malicious?
    What if the app is so buggy it deletes your content?

    The problem is, Apple has set themselves up as the gatekeeper and will be held responsible by customers if something goes terribly wrong.

  3. Alex Kerr March 13, 2009 at 12:49 pm #

    Apple should base the yes/no process on whether the app contains illegal functionality or content – that's what the law is there for. No other criteria at all. Simplifies and streamlines the whole thing. It's Apple protectionism that's the problem. This is very much like when AOL thought of themselves as the one and only gateway to the internet, and look how much longevity that model had.

  4. TerenceEden March 13, 2009 at 4:01 pm #

    Illegal where and for whom? Content legal in Europe may not be legal in the USA. Adult content may not be legal to show to minors.
    What if the app is malicious?
    What if the app is so buggy it deletes your content?

    The problem is, Apple has set themselves up as the gatekeeper and will be held responsible by customers if something goes terribly wrong.

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