New York Times Profiles Apple's App Store

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Apr 12, 2001
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New York Times Profiles Apple's App Store



The New York Times yesterday published a lengthy feature article on Apple's iPhone and the App Store, calling them a "game changer" in the field of telephony and mobile applications. While the article provides little in the way of new information, the prominent story is part of a recent push by Apple executives to share their vision for the App Store and to address concerns from customers and iPhone developers over the App Store approval process.

In discussing the "game changing" nature of the App Store, the report quotes a "giddy" Apple senior vice president Phil Schiller, who has been Apple's primary point person for the media, particularly when it comes to the App Store.
"I absolutely think this is the future of great software development and distribution," Mr. Schiller says. "The idea that anyone, all the way from an individual to a large company, can create software that is innovative and be carried around in a customer's pocket is just exploding. It's a breakthrough, and that is the future, and every software developer sees it."
Addressing the issue of the App Store approval process, the report sees it as a "necessary evil" in order to provide a safe and secure repository of applications for customers' use. Regardless, Schiller claims that the vast majority of applications have little problem receiving approval, although there are occasional issues that crop up and the company appreciates the feedback it receives.
"I think, by and large, we do a very good job there," Mr. Schiller said. "Sometimes we make a judgment call both ways, that people give us feedback on, either rejecting something that perhaps on second consideration shouldn't be, or accepting something that on second consideration shouldn’t be."
The article also compares the App Store's revolutionary impact on mobile applications to the iTunes Store's impact on the digital music industry, noting that while the App Store is part of the iTunes Store experience, it is a vastly different operation.
"A rocket ship is even too small of an analogy," says Eddy Cue, Apple's vice president for iTunes, of the App Store's popularity. "We've been able to leverage a lot of our iTunes technology for the App Store. But it's completely different. We're reviewing all of those apps. We really don't have to review each and every song."
But Apple is not alone in the industry, and the report highlights efforts on other platforms and how they differ from Apple's approach. Some companies, such as Research in Motion and Microsoft, acknowledge Apple's huge lead in the application market with over 100,000 applications and instead claim to be focused on the quality of their smaller application libraries. Others, such as Palm and Google, are offering a simpler or non-existent review process, touting unfettered access and content as their selling points.

Regardless of how things turn out in the future, the report's conclusion is that Apple's iPhone and App Store will almost certainly be seen as a "turning point" in the mobile communications industry, marking the transition of mobile phones into mobile computers.

Article Link: New York Times Profiles Apple's App Store
 

Vandam500

macrumors 68000
Sep 29, 2008
1,821
54
Hopefully the approval process is improved though. Lots of angry developers and what not. Nice article though.
 

*LTD*

macrumors G4
Feb 5, 2009
10,703
1
Canada
But Apple is not alone in the industry, and the report highlights efforts on other platforms and how they differ from Apple's approach. Some companies, such as Research in Motion and Microsoft, acknowledge Apple's huge lead in the application market with over 100,000 applications and instead claim to be focused on the quality of their smaller application libraries. Others, such as Palm and Google, are offering a simpler or non-existent review process, touting unfettered access and content as their selling points.

The also-rans have a long way to go - not just in terms of apps, but in terms of App Store interface usability. And come the next iPhone Apple will be that much further ahead in all areas.
 

chrisd1974

macrumors member
Jul 21, 2009
46
0
London, UK
I just had an idea on the approval process, when he compared it to iTunes.

iTunes album = app
iTunes artist = app store publisher
iTunes studio / label = app store 'nothing'

So they could create some 'sub stores' - within the iTunes store, who could approve content directly, to spread the approval load around. Nothing stopping them having their own store too (like the iTunes exclusive albums they issue from time to time)

That way they would avoid a lot of potential monopoly / gatekeeper criticisms.

The 'sub stores' needn't be visible, they could be completely hidden to the end user. Although I can see applications where they would be brought forward for marketing purposes.

Just a suggestion
 

Doctor Q

Administrator
Staff member
Sep 19, 2002
37,680
3,792
Los Angeles
At what point will there be a way to assess the number of worthwhile applications for comparison among companies/platforms? Is it so subjective that it'll never be possible?
 

LagunaSol

macrumors 601
Apr 3, 2003
4,798
0
Others, such as Palm and Google, are offering a simpler or non-existent review process, touting unfettered access and content as their selling points.
Count on this changing as (if) the volume of apps on these platforms increases substantially. No one wants to be in the position of directly peddling anything and everything, even Google.

Every store has to have some control over the wares they sell, if only for legal and brand protection.

At what point will there be a way to assess the number of worthwhile applications for comparison among companies/platforms? Is it so subjective that it'll never be possible?
Q1: At no point.

Q2: Yes.
 

rdowns

macrumors Penryn
Jul 11, 2003
27,400
12,510
The Old Grey Lady didn't escape the RDF. Talk about a puff piece.
 

inkswamp

macrumors 68030
Jan 26, 2003
2,732
697
Hopefully the approval process is improved though. Lots of angry developers and what not. Nice article though.
"Lots" being a very subjective term, btw. I'm not sure what you mean.

I'd love to see some hard statistics about the App Store approval process hit and misses. I'm so utterly sick of opinions on this matter. It seems to me that, for 100K+ apps, that the approval process has had a remarkably low rate of problems. But I'd be curious to see if it's being blown out of proportion. The problem is that we don't hear about the good experiences. We just hear about the negative ones when a developer blogs about it and it spreads to every site on the Web in a matter of hours and seems like yet another instances of Apple being mean to developers. However, nobody brings up the fact that several thousand apps have sailed through the process while all of this unfolds.
 

ghostface147

macrumors 68030
May 28, 2008
2,911
2,309
Organization is what's going to be a problem here. Over 100,000 apps available now and that number will increase three fold according to the article. How will most people find what they need fast and efficiently? Me personally, i just look at the top listings for each catagory and make a decision there.
 

skellener

macrumors 68000
Jun 23, 2003
1,766
504
So. Cal.
Some companies, such as Research in Motion and Microsoft, acknowledge Apple's huge lead in the application market with over 100,000 applications and instead claim to be focused on the quality of their smaller application libraries.
Interesting quote. Sound familiar? ;) I sure wish Apple would "focus on the quality" of their libraries too instead of worrying about quantity. You know, like on the Mac! :apple::D

Organization is what's going to be a problem here. Over 100,000 apps available now and that number will increase three fold according to the article. How will most people find what they need fast and efficiently? Me personally, i just look at the top listings for each catagory and make a decision there.
They categorize by top downloads or sales. They should be categorizing by ratings and reviews. Always read the reviews!!!
 

LagunaSol

macrumors 601
Apr 3, 2003
4,798
0
Interesting quote. Sound familiar? ;) I sure wish Apple would "focus on the quality" of their libraries too instead of worrying about quantity. You know, like on the Mac! :apple::D
Microsoft seems to have no problem with the quality (or lack thereof) of the large application library on the Windows side. :rolleyes:
 

*LTD*

macrumors G4
Feb 5, 2009
10,703
1
Canada
They categorize by top downloads or sales. They should be categorizing by ratings and reviews. Always read the reviews!!!
Doesn't Top Paid also reflect ratings? It would appear that the "Top" apps are also the highest rated.
 

LagunaSol

macrumors 601
Apr 3, 2003
4,798
0
One of the biggest problems I see is the amount of time it takes to get approval for an update of an already-established app. Developers will post that the latest app update (with important bug fixes and/or feature additions) has been submitted to Apple for review and approval, but that update won't show up in the App Store for 3 weeks or more. Frustrating.

As for app quality, the free market should help the good stuff rise to the top and the crap sink to the bottom. The sheer number of apps makes that more difficult, but I rely on quality reviews and recommendations from bloggers I read and trust. As we all know, the rating system within the App Store itself can be next to worthless. ("I love this app!" (1 star) "$1.99 is a rip off! This app should be 99 cents!" (1 star))

Also, now that the initial "gold rush" is waning and crap apps are providing no financial payoff for the crap app developers, hopefully we'll start to see them start to drop out of the running. Maybe they'll move to Android or Windows Mobile. ;)
 

Redline13

macrumors 6502
Feb 20, 2004
297
0
The Old Grey Lady didn't escape the RDF. Talk about a puff piece.
I agree. I started reading it online yesterday but I realized it was a major puff piece before I even completed page two. I didn't bother to finish reading the article. 9to5mac.com's headline about the article was hilarious.
 

BornAgainMac

macrumors 603
Feb 4, 2004
6,403
3,310
Florida Resident
It would be nice to be able let the user select from Q/A apps vs raw applications and updates from the developer without Apple's blessing (yet or maybe never). A user can set a preference in iTunes to see only Apple's approved apps or toggle to show everything including updates not approved yet.

I think they could help that situation.
 

BoRegardless

macrumors newbie
Apr 7, 2004
28
0
The New York Times yesterday published a lengthy feature article on Apple's iPhone and the App Store, calling them a "game changer" in the field of telephony and mobile applications.

Why is NO ONE asking why Apple has not yet established an online Mac Software Store?

You can see this coming since the early days of the iPhone App Store.
 

Compile 'em all

macrumors 601
Apr 6, 2005
4,106
206
Interesting quote. Sound familiar? ;) I sure wish Apple would "focus on the quality" of their libraries too instead of worrying about quantity. You know, like on the Mac! :apple::D

They categorize by top downloads or sales. They should be categorizing by ratings and reviews. Always read the reviews!!!
Reviews is not a good idea because some developers actually write their own reviews. Heck, some devs even buy other competitors apps for the sole purpose of writing a bad review.

In fact, just recently Apple banned an iPhone developer for review scams.
 

wolfshades

macrumors 6502
Nov 1, 2007
426
540
Toronto, Ontario Canada
The Old Grey Lady didn't escape the RDF. Talk about a puff piece.
I agree. I started reading it online yesterday but I realized it was a major puff piece before I even completed page two. I didn't bother to finish reading the article. 9to5mac.com's headline about the article was hilarious.
A total puff piece would have omitted the mention by FreedomVoice about the 365-day delay for their app approval.

As for trying to figure out which of the thousands of apps are any good, you really can't rely on the top paid lists, really. Momentum is the name of the game there. Other than reading reviews and hearing comments from other users, I have no way to guage which are worthwhile buying.

Plus, even the (what is it - eleven screens?) available app space is limiting. Apple needs to figure out a better way to leverage that huge app volume on the iPhone. I'm thinking tabs here - one for entertainment, gaming, document handling, etc., all user-configurable.
 

wolfshades

macrumors 6502
Nov 1, 2007
426
540
Toronto, Ontario Canada
The New York Times yesterday published a lengthy feature article on Apple's iPhone and the App Store, calling them a "game changer" in the field of telephony and mobile applications.

Why is NO ONE asking why Apple has not yet established an online Mac Software Store?

You can see this coming since the early days of the iPhone App Store.
Wow, that's such a great point! Their success with the app store for iPhone should have given them a good clue about this already.
 

dernhelm

macrumors 68000
May 20, 2002
1,640
117
middle earth
The New York Times yesterday published a lengthy feature article on Apple's iPhone and the App Store, calling them a "game changer" in the field of telephony and mobile applications.

Why is NO ONE asking why Apple has not yet established an online Mac Software Store?

You can see this coming since the early days of the iPhone App Store.
It's funny, because I would think sites like MacUpdate would take off if the idea of an OS/X App Store were so obvious. I use MacUpdate, and I know others that do, but I know far more that don't, and I'm not sure the sites subscriber rate has exploded at any faster a rate than OS/X itself.

Now if Apple produced an App Store for OS/X it would probably eclipse sites like Mac Update within weeks or months, but I just don't know how successful it would be from Apple's perspective.

Certainly, they'd have to give up on the idea of a draconian approval process in order to make an OS/X app store work, but it might be helpful for parents to have ratings and such.

Interesting quote. Sound familiar? ;) I sure wish Apple would "focus on the quality" of their libraries too instead of worrying about quantity. You know, like on the Mac! :apple::D
The main thing that most Microsoft pundits will tell you is that the Windows platform simply has access to more software than you can get on OS/X. The argument was never that the software was better, just that there was more of it.

Now that the tables have turned, and Apple's iPhone has drastically larger quantities of software than anything available on a Microsoft based device, it suddenly matters whether or not the software is of high quality?

How convenient.
 

Hattig

macrumors 65816
Jan 3, 2003
1,432
49
London, UK
Coming up with the App Store as a centralised repository for iPhone applications was the major win for Apple. Being first, and being popular, has meant a lot of top quality games and serious applications. There's a lot of chaff though.

It's been emulated now. The Android store has loads of applications, but only recently offered paid-for apps. There's a lot of chaff here too! You only need one decent tip calculator (wow is 10% really that hard to work out?).
 
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