Thursday, May 7, 2009

Why We Love the AppStore

Since there's always a lot of talk about all the ways the AppStore could be improved, I thought we'd go a different route and tout all the ways the AppStore rocks. And it's not just because we got featured in the New and Noteworthy of the Games Category. Besides being a great source of income for us and a ton of other developers, the AppStore transforms an otherwise basic utilitarian device - your iPhone - into a super exciting productivity and entertainment device.

The AppStore allows you to accumulate a ton of applications for entertainment and various other utilities not included in the phone, creating a personalized all inclusive unit capable of a lot more than could ever come with the phone itself. In addition to all the benefits reaped by the user, the AppStore provides an immense arena for developers to display their creativity and skills. There is an extraordinary amount of possibilities for what can be accomplished using the iPhone SDK, especially with all the features being added in the 3.0 update.

The AppStore has been open for close to a year now, and there are already 35,000 apps available. The rate of growth has been exponential, with 3,000 apps available in September, 10,000 in early December, and 20,000 in February. The number of downloads just passed a mind boggling billion, showing just how enormous this market is.

While the number of apps is rather intimidating in terms of competition, it forces developers (in theory) to make higher quality products to ensure that their apps stand out among the hordes available. What's also exciting is that other companies have realized this potential and opened additional marketplaces for developers (i.e. Blackberry, Android). I think the diverse array of devices that these platforms offer makes it much more difficult for developers to build software compatible with every device on the platform, which is one reason I suspect they'll have a tough time achieving the same level of success as Apple, but it's a start.

So for all this praise I've just bestowed upon the AppStore, I concede that there are certainly flaws. There's a significant amount of debate over all the ways that it should be improved, so I'll just mention the one thing I would really like to see - a way for developers to respond to reviews. Since our products are so stellar, most of what people complain about is fixable, and the biggest whiners are the ones who don't contact us to try and solve their problem. I read the reviews and respond to support emails, so I know who's writing what, and it would be really wonderful if there were some way for developers to respond directly to reviewers.

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