Lucky for Apple I've sat down and dedicated some time to solving these problems for them. Feel free to send royalties and/or job offers any time you're ready for my genius Apple!
- Higher Quality, Less Quantity: Apple hits us over the head all the time with the fact that they have 100,000 plus apps in the app store. Yeah, it's an awesome stat and solicits "ohhs" and "ahhs" from everyone but at the end of the day the app store is filled with a lot of crap. There are many killer apps out there but there also tons of useless and pointless ones too. Maybe if they cut down on the apps available and raised their standards of quality a little more or instituted some sort of minimum download rate then we wouldn't be awash in a world of apps and could find the best ones easier.
- Taking Care of Business: TCB, it's not just a cool rock song from the 80's or a sweet abbreviation your boss uses anymore. Apple needs to up its focus on business related apps to further trump the Black Berry. I am tired of hearing people talk about their "Crack Berry" and how they have to have it for work. Apple needs to deliver the deathblow and encourage developers to develop more enterprise related apps or do the heavy lifting themselves.
- Be Nice to the Developers: Apple needs to stop acting like developers are lucky to be working on their platform and listen to their complaints. Apple has already opened up their review process a bit to keep mass defections from happening but if they want to stop software engineers from exclusively working on other platforms they need to embrace the developers. Yes, you can't give them everything they want but involving them more in the process and treating them like stakeholders as opposed to servants would be a good first step.
- More Transparency: The updated Apple review process is better than before but still needs work. Now developers know what stage of review their work is in but that's about it. Apple needs to let developers see under the hood a little bit more and let them feel good that when they put in serious work they will have a good shot at getting it approved.
- Ditch Ma Bell: A lot of people don't like AT&T as it is and having them involved in the app process is only making things worse. They let Apple know that the Google Voice app couldn't be approved and that no VOIP apps will be able to run on their 3G network. This has raised some eyebrows over at the FCC and may lead to government intervention where none really should be. For that and thousand other reasons Apple needs to open up the iPhone to other carriers.
- Secrets Don't Make Friends: Apple is notorious for it's CIA-like secret keeping. This usually applies to new product launches and strategic future plans but when applied to the app store it spells trouble. Apple doesn't tell users or developers anything they don't have to and this effects the overall experience. Let us in Apple! Who hurt you so bad in the past. . .?
- Admit When You're Wrong: Apple has been caught before rejecting perfectly good apps while letting crap (baby shaking app) slip through the app review process. When they get nailed by the media or disgruntled developers with good contacts they approve the app and never say anything. Hey, you're human and everyone makes mistakes; that's why pencils have erasers. Just fess up and say you've learned your lesson and move on. But the problem is they haven't learned anything and the problems continue.
- Better Navigation: One of the biggest issues I have with the app store is finding the one I want. I usually have to hear about one second hand and then go hunting for it. Even when I know something about it, actually finding the app actually takes some work. The app store needs revamped navigation and advanced search features to help us find stuff a little more easily.
- Don't Forget the End User: Apple needs to program one of their super computers to better understand the human consumer, or hire someone to do it. They just don't seem to get what people are looking for when it comes to apps. While developers often pick up on it they are usually faced with a 50/50 chance of getting their work approved leaving the consumer in the dark. Talk to some people, do a focus group and find out what your customers are looking for before Google or Black Berry does.
- Hearing Footsteps? Maybe the problem that is the driving issues behind all other problems listed here is that Apple doesn't fear competition from anyone else. While Google's Android phones and Black Berrys have their appeal and are getting apps they are nowhere near what Apple offers. Competition often pushes development and without the fear that someone is going to snatch the crown off their pretty little heads Apple doesn't have the motivation to radically change. Yeah, it works out great for their bottom line but at the end of the day if you stop innovating and pushing the envelope someone else will.
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