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.
Apple iPad Will Need All the Apps Help It Can Get
5. It won’t sell like the iPhone
The iPad has no chance to match the iPhone in sales. Realizing that, Apple needs to be more diligent with its handling of the App Store approval process. Applications are a key selling point for both consumers and enterprise customers. If there are handy apps available to them, they might opt for Apple’s device over others. And since Apple’s iPad won’t sell as well as the iPhone on its own merit alone, the company needs to add value to device to make customers more likely to pick one up. What better way to achieve that than with apps?
6. Competition is fierce
Lest Apple forget, the competition in the tablet market is extremely fierce. For now, there isn’t much for consumers to choose from. But once the iPad hits store shelves, it will be followed by a slew of devices from both big and small vendors. That grouping will be led by HP’s Slate tablet, which will run Windows 7. That alone gives it a leg up over the iPad, since any Windows program can run on the device. Apple needs to remember that the competition is out for blood in the tablet market. It also needs to keep in mind that all its competitors are targeting Cupertino. If Apple wants to hold onto a dominating position in that space, being more lenient with App Store approval is a must.
7. Apps are a selling point
Applications are a key selling point for Apple. Whenever Steve Jobs takes the stage to discuss the iPhone or, now, the iPad, he’s quick to point out just how many applications are available in his company’s mobile marketplace. Jobs knows that consumers care about the quantity of applications available to them. Sure, they can get tens of thousands of apps in Google’s Android Market, but they can get over 140,000 in Apple’s store. And they like that. The more apps available to the iPad, the better. Apple can’t lose sight of that.
8. Google won’t hold back
If Apple plans to reject an inordinate number of apps in its store for little or no good reason, it needs to remember that Google will probably allow the apps in its Android Market. Recently, Tim Bray joined Google’s Android team. In his first discussion on joining Google and taking on Apple, he mentioned that he wants to work toward showing the world that Apple’s policies in the mobile market are all wrong. He wants to support the free flow of content. If he succeeds, Apple might have a problem. All those developers that it has turned away could run to Google’s open arms. If consumers find that content compelling, it could cause them to choose an Android-based tablet over the iPad. That’s the last thing Apple needs.
9. The consumer is tops
Apple needs to be reminded time and again that the customer is always right. It seems that Jobs enjoys maintaining a stranglehold on his company’s products and expects the market to adapt. But maybe when it comes to the App Store, that idea is all wrong. Consumers might want the content that Apple has removed from the App Store. They might even like some of the apps the company has rejected. Going forward, Apple needs to make a more concerted effort to base its App Store decisions on consumer desire, rather than strange corporate rules.
10. It’s what the market expects
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, Apple needs to remember that the market expects it to be more lenient in its approval process for iPad apps. It knows that the company has rejected a ridiculous number of applications in its store. It also realizes that the iPad is a different product with different app needs. Consumers and enterprise customers are expecting something more from Apple than secrecy and poorly made decisions on app approvals.
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Holistic Customer Communications Management: Building Profitable Relationships in Insurance
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