Tiffany B. Brown

It’s not Apple. It’s you.

Peter-Paul Koch responds to recent claims that Apple is damaging its brand with its archaic iPhone App Store approval process. He says, quite plainly, iPhone developers are stupid. Why?

In order to release an iPhone application without having to submit it to Apple’s insane App Store process, developers could just use Web technologies and create Web apps instead of native apps.

In other words, iPhone developers are doing it wrong. By focusing on native applications, they are subjecting themselves to Apple’s approval process unnecessarily. Safari, he argues, is all most application developers need, and the reluctance of iPhone developers to embrace web technologies has more to do with snobbery than functionality.

The fundamental problem on the iPhone is not Apple’s App Store approval policies, but the iPhone developers’ arrogant disdain for Web technologies. … They dismiss Web technologies as toys for children. JavaScript is just this little language that cannot possibly compare to real technologies such as the one they’re using. HTML is too simple. Real programmers don’t do that stuff. As to Web developers, they are just glorified pixel-pushers that should in no circumstance be taken seriously.

I agree that most iPhone applications don’t need to be native ones. I also agree that many developers — not just iPhone developers — dismiss client-side programming as kid stuff.

I suspect, however, that iPhone developers really prefer native applications because they’re trying to make money. Apple’s App Store lets developers get paid and helps them protect their product with a degree of digital rights management the web doesn’t provide.

5 Responses to “It’s not Apple. It’s you.”

  1. Jason Toney says:

    Apple has also built it’s brand on a perceived quality level and must maintain that brand equity to keep it’s place in the market. Most iPhone users don’t know who created what app they downloaded, they just know that it works as expected on their device.

    If that expectation wasn’t being met consistently, the only entity with something legitimate to lose is Apple.

    Nintendo does the same thing with game development. Disney does the same thing with licensing partners.

    An expectation of quality is, perhaps, one of the most valuable commodities for a company to have. It’s hard to achieve and harder to maintain but incredibly easy to lose.

    I don’t fault Apple for protecting the brand that way.

  2. Jason Toney says:

    Apple has also built it’s brand on a perceived quality level and must maintain that brand equity to keep it’s place in the market. Most iPhone users don’t know who created what app they downloaded, they just know that it works as expected on their device.

    If that expectation wasn’t being met consistently, the only entity with something legitimate to lose is Apple.

    Nintendo does the same thing with game development. Disney does the same thing with licensing partners.

    An expectation of quality is, perhaps, one of the most valuable commodities for a company to have. It’s hard to achieve and harder to maintain but incredibly easy to lose.

    I don’t fault Apple for protecting the brand that way.

  3. tiffany says:

    Absolutely, Jason. That’s precisely why Apple’s App Store is great for consumers. But some of the reasons why developers’ applications get rejected are often nitpicky, arbitrary and seemingly inconsistent. I mean, it can be hard for developers to make updates and bug fixes available. That’s not ideal either.

    Still, Koch’s idea is a good one: most developers can just as easily make a web-based application if they just want the glory of having people use their product.

  4. tiffany says:

    Absolutely, Jason. That’s precisely why Apple’s App Store is great for consumers. But some of the reasons why developers’ applications get rejected are often nitpicky, arbitrary and seemingly inconsistent. I mean, it can be hard for developers to make updates and bug fixes available. That’s not ideal either.

    Still, Koch’s idea is a good one: most developers can just as easily make a web-based application if they just want the glory of having people use their product.

  5. msinternet says:

    When you can search for web-apps in the app store developers will use it. We are not snobbish about technology, however we are creating a commercial product so what is the point of making a product that cannot make a profit?

    I actually like the fairly rigid way that Apple views apps. Although it can be frustrating sometimes it is the quality of apps that means that people keep coming back for more. Remember crashy Java apps on Nokia phones? As a developer I want to develop for a platform that will stick around for a while.

    Incidentally we are both mobile and web developers and many of I would argue that any serious professional is concerned about the success of the product and the user experience far far over whether the best language is used. The comments above are just troll stuff and not clever or funny!

    Martin