Monday, July 05, 2010

Stop Making Freaking Iphone Apps Please

Much as I admire Apple's business strategy I hate it. They capture an emerging market with superior product design and marketing and then lock customers in with proprietary restrictions. They did it to the digital music market and now they are doing it to the mobile internet. Except that the mobile internet is too big and too important to let one company control it.

Not a day goes by without me hearing yet another organisation proudly boasting that they have "developed an Iphone app" for their service. People and organisations who have no business favouring one companies view of the internet over another, including public bodies and charities are all jumping on the I-phone bandwagon.

This morning on the radio I head a surprisingly savvy journalist interview a representative of a public health body who was proudly touting their new Iphone app. "Not everyone has an Iphone" the journalist said "why didn't you develop an app that would work on other phones too?". Needless to say the representative didn't have an answer. Indeed perhaps there isn't an answer. Perhaps it just isn't possible because other phones are so varied and incompatible. Java would seem to be a good start because it is widely supported but then again Java doesn't work on Iphones. Grrrrr..

5 comments:

Stabs said...

Very good point. I wonder what the technical answer is. It seems that it's hurting the other phones not to have app support. Do Orange and the others honestly expect to compete with Apple if no one makes apps for their phones?

Stabs said...

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/programmes/click_online/8143759.stm

Decent summary.

Android seems to be the best solution as it's open source. Google push it because they want to sell their own apps but don't mind other developers producing competing apps.

mbp said...

Thanks for the link Stabs. It is a good summary. It is also very noticeable that all the other formats (including Android) other than Iphone are so disorganised and so far behind that they will probably never catch up. The fact that Apple are winning the mobile internet format war is not the problem. The problem is the exclusive lock in - only software that is approved by Apple can run on an Iphone.

Imagine if Microsoft had designed Windows so that it would only run their own software or software that they had explicitly approved. Think about how much that would have constrained the explosion of innovation in computers and the internet. Yet this is exactly the sort of hold Apple are getting over the mobile internet market.

One possible hope is that that if the Iphone gets enough market share the EU or the US government will finally wake up and kick in with an anti-trust case.

Seth said...

Fight the power with Android. I haven't regretted switching to Android since the day I sold my iPhone. Android is on every carrier and has phones from low to high price points. Developing an android app ensures everyone on every carrier can get it. Just sayin! (They are also more powerful... we have dual core 1GHZ processors for crying out loud)

mbp said...

You are preaching to the converted Seth. I am a phone carrying member of the Android club. I hate Apple's business model.