Increased Regulation of the App Store

By Nicholas Kolakowski  |  Posted 2010-01-02 Print this article Print

Increased Regulation of the App Store

Apple's App Store expanded to more than 100,000 apps in 2009, with research firm IDC predicting that number to grow to 300,000 by the end of 2010. That sheer rate of growth, combined with minor controversies such as this summer's "Baby Shaker" app, may lead Apple to follow calls by outsiders and impose a tighter and more structured regulatory system for the App Store in 2010.

Again, Google may provide additional impetus for Apple to make changes to the App Store. IDC also predicted that the number of Google Android apps could expand by a "factor of five or more" over the coming year, raising the prospect of increased competition in the mobile-application space in the short- to medium-term.

Apple has already taken steps in this direction, notably with the Dec. 8 announcement of an RSS feed for iPhone developers to receive the latest news about App Store submissions and reviews.

"You can now subscribe to a new RSS feed that will allow you to instantly receive updates to the iPhone Developer News and announcements," read the posting on Apple's Developer Connection site. "Get the latest information on a wide range of topics including tips on submitting apps to the App Store, current turnaround time for app review, program updates, development and testing techniques, and much more."

The company has also begun weeding out developers of useless or fraudulent apps, including some 1,100 mobile applications from developer Molinker, which users accused of posting fake positive reviews for its wares.

More Apple Stores

Apple previously announced that it intends to open 40 to 50 stores worldwide in 2010, including new retail locations in London, Paris and Shanghai. These would add to the 280 Apple stores already in existence. Apple reportedly earned some $3 billion from its retail operations for the first six months of 2009.

An iPod Touch with a Camera

Earlier in the summer, rumors abounded that Apple was developing an iPod Touch with a camera-rumors that seemed on the verge of coming true when MacRumors published photos of what was claimed to be an iPod Touch case with a camera hole. However, the iPod with a camera introduced at Apple's Sept. 9 event in San Francisco turned out to be the new iPod Nano.

A few days before that event, the blogosphere lit up with reports that problems had developed with camera modules for unspecified iPods, which if true may have delayed the introduction of other camera-equipped models in the popular media-player line. In any case, given Apple's increased emphasis on the iPod Touch as both a gaming platform and enticer for the iPhone, it's not inconceivable that the next refresh of the device in 2010 will include an iPhone-style camera.

The Beatles on iTunes

"The Beatles and EMI have some differences to work out," Jobs told USA Today on Sept. 10, when asked about the Fab Four's catalog finally becoming available for digital download. "We'd welcome them with open arms."

The past few months saw the release of "The Beatles: Rock Band" and digitally remastered versions of the Beatles studio albums. Count on the momentum of both those events to help push Beatles availability on iTunes come 2010.

Nicholas Kolakowski is a staff editor at eWEEK, covering Microsoft and other companies in the enterprise space, as well as evolving technology such as tablet PCs. His work has appeared in The Washington Post, Playboy, WebMD, AARP the Magazine, AutoWeek, Washington City Paper, Trader Monthly, and Private Air. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.

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