10 App Store Shortcomings Apple Should Fix

By Don Reisinger  |  Posted 2009-11-29 Print this article Print

News Analysis: Apple's App Store may be one of the most used mobile services in the world, but it has several shortcomings that limit its potential. There are many things that Apple could do to improve the quality of the applications sold as well as the quality of the service it provides to users and the support it gives to the developer community. Here are 10 things Apple can do to make the App Store even more effective.

When it comes time to evaluate a particular device, we simply can't do it in a vacuum, since more than just hardware and software goes into a product. Nowhere is that more evident than when we consider the iPhone. Apple's mobile phone has revolutionized the mobile industry. It has changed the way consumers view mobile phones. And that is in no small part due to its App Store.

Apple's App Store is easily the most successful mobile app store in the space. It currently offers over 100,000 apps in areas ranging from medicine to business, games to education. It's filled with great content. But it isn't perfect. In fact, Apple's store suffers from several problems that frustrate users and make developers scratch their heads. Let's take a look at what they are.

1. Quantity over quality?

In the App Store, it seems that the sheer number of applications offered trumps the quality of those applications. Now, that's not to say there aren't several fine apps in the store-there are-but there are far too many derivative, useless apps that easily make their way into the marketplace. Apple exacerbates the problem by talking about the number of apps in the store. We want more quality, not quantity, Apple.

2. Don't forget the enterprise

Although the App Store has made strides of late, there are still too few enterprise applications in the marketplace. That's mainly due to the iPhone's user base, which is admittedly consumer-heavy, but there is a real need for useful enterprise applications in the App Store.

3. Developers matter too

It's important for Apple to realize that as important as its sales might be, it also needs to play nice with developers. Unfortunately, it hasn't done that so far. And some developers are moving on to other platforms. Apple needs to remember that communicating with developers is necessity for any company that offers an operating system.

4. How does an app win approval?

One of the biggest problems with Apple's App Store is that developers have no way of knowing whether or not their applications will be approved for the store. When the application is completed, it literally has a 50-50 chance of gaining approval. That needs to stop. Apple must make it a priority in the new year to improve its approval process and allow some transparency. Developers need to know what to expect.

Don Reisinger is a freelance technology columnist. He started writing about technology for Ziff-Davis' Gearlog.com. Since then, he has written extremely popular columns for CNET.com, Computerworld, InformationWeek, and others. He has appeared numerous times on national television to share his expertise with viewers. You can follow his every move at http://twitter.com/donreisinger.

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