• Should Apple Get Back into the Rejection Business?

    Image via PC World

    In the movie "Yes Man," Jim Carrey portrays a character that learns to (and grows quite comfortable with) only saying yes to the often demanding requests and wishes imposed on him.

    One has to wonder if "Yes Man" is the movie of the month in the corporate office of Apple, as the App Store has seemingly welcomed with open arms new applications that appear on the surface to not only fail to meet Apple's guidelines, but also violate numerous longstanding company policies.

    Since August, Apple has given a green light to apps for Spotify’s streaming music app, the iPhone version of “Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown,” and just this week, the new Vonage app - a VoIP service that, a short while ago, would never seem destined for the App Store. Although the recent rash of rushed approvals isn't a negative thing for Apple customers (in fact, its actually a positive development), the larger issue raised by some is the Apple's App Store is quickly expanding to a "clutter-filled" 50,000 applications - many of which are redundant, duplicate, or just plain nonsensical.

    Editor Philip Berne at Info Sync raises this concern in a new editorial:

    Search the Apple iPhone App Store for "Flashlight" and you get 94 results. Sure, some of them are flashlights, and most of them will do the job you're looking for, but which is the best one? Who knows. And that's just for an app that turns your screen bright white. Suppose you want a To Do List? A diet management tool? A game of chess? Search for "Chess" on the App Store, and you get 184 listings.
    The real issue in question is one I have found myself discussing with friends and colleagues who diversely fall on both sides of the aisle. Is it Apple's responsibility to open the marketplace to as many developers and competing apps as possible, or should Apple be the all-powerful filter in place to sift through the very best of the best so that we don't have to? Is it up to Apple to determine the best "flash-light" app, or should we sort through five dozen different apps to find the one that's "right for us?"

    This isn't how a real store works, and it isn't how the iPhone App Store should work, either. At a real store, a buyer or manager picks and chooses the best products, and that's what the store sells. If a product isn't good enough, or if it doesn't sell well, the manager replaces it with something better, or works with manufacturers to improve it. No store manager in her right mind, even at large box retailers and wholesale warehouses, would offer 184 different Chess games. She would offer a few good ones, some variety, and maybe a unique sample here and there. That's how the iPhone App Store should work as well.
    There is, indeed, a fundamental difference of opinion about the burgeoning growth of the App Store - a debate that has been heightened in recent days as many Apple fans are growing concerned and weary with the apparent newfound hypocrisy in Apple's approval process.

    Perhaps the wave of surprising approvals is just a short-term phenomenon. But if not, some say the App Store could rapidly swell to a new, and much more unwieldy size. Only time will tell. But for now, some Apple fans are concerned.

    Are you?
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