If there has been a single thorn in Apple's side since the release of its iPhone, it's applications. Originally, the iPhone only allowed users access to applications via the Web. Realizing the folly of such a strategy, Apple finally delivered the App Store, which allowed developers to create applications that could run natively on the touch-screen device.
It was an important addition to the iPhone that arguably added more value to the phone than any improvement since. But all the while, Apple has been forced to deal with complaints about its policies on approving or removing applications from its store. It has been one of the few black eyes the company has received since the iPhone hit store shelves.
But now the iPad is poised for release. And already Apple is working at approving applications designed to accommodate the iPad's big screen size. The addition of iPad-ready apps in the App Store is extremely important to both Apple and customers.
Apple can promote the sheer number of applications available to users, while consumers can enjoy applications designed specifically for the iPad's 9.7-inch display. It's a win-win. But if Apple wants the iPad to be successful, the company needs to be more lenient with its iPad app-approval process. The days of ruling the store with an iron fist need to end.
1. It catches too much flak
The last thing Apple needs before the release of the iPad is for consumers to be distracted by its decision to block certain iPad apps from the App Store. For years now, Apple has caught flak for rejecting applications for few good reasons or allowing applications into its store that it later removed. Worst of all, there isn't a clear-cut reason for why it makes any of its decisions. If Apple wants to be smart, it will realize that approving apps is much easier than allowing developers to rail against rejections.
2. The iPad isn't the iPhone
Although some Apple fans say that the iPad will be a major launch just like the iPhone, most of us know better. The iPad simply doesn't conjure up the awe that the iPhone did when it was first announced. And since the iPad won't have the commercial appeal that the iPhone does, it's Apple's job to make it as attractive as possible. Limiting applications for no good reason is not the way to achieve that.
3. No outside concerns
In some cases, Apple was forced to reject applications access to its App Store because AT&T would object. When it comes to the iPad, Apple won't have to worry about that. For once, the company is completely unencumbered when it comes to its approval process, and its decisions should reflect that. Since it only needs to worry about its own concerns, Apple can more readily accept applications it might have been fine with, but AT&T wouldn't like. That's refreshing.
4. It's entertainment now
The iPad isn't the iPhone. Although the tablet features iPhone OS and it's essentially a big iPod Touch, users look at the product as an entertainment partner, not as a productivity tool. That's an important distinction. As Apple considers applications, it needs to remember that the device's focus is much different from the iPhone's. That, in turn, creates different desires for consumers. If Apple can keep that frame of reference in mind when it evaluates applications, it will undoubtedly be more lenient than it has in the past. After all, several apps it has rejected or removed relate to entertainment in one way or another.