Monday, September 15, 2008
Alas, the App Store
I'm still waiting for my JacksOrBetter application to be available in the iPhone App Store. I have received notification that the application has been approved for sale, but my contract with Apple is still "pending" (whatever that means).
The App Store is great in many ways. It makes it very easy for users to buy apps at reasonable prices, and very easy for developers to sell them. However, Apple may be discouraging the development of truly great applications with its policies.
Applications are being rejected by Apple for various, seemingly arbitrary reasons. This is very bad for the viability of the platform. It means a company that invests in iPhone development is taking a very big risk. No matter how great the app is, Apple could refuse to sell it in the App Store. And if you can't sell it in the App Store, you can't sell it at all.
There are other problems. The non-disclosure agreement discourages developers from sharing information about iPhone development. Restrictive APIs and licensing agreements prevent developers from creating many kinds of apps they want to create. Long delays for application approval leave developers frustrated.
The App Store could be a great market for great applications for a great platform. Maybe Apple knows what it's doing, but I hope they will loosen their grip before they squeeze out the folks who can really do amazing stuff for the iPhone.