Thursday, October 21, 2010

Welcome to the AppLe Store


Well Apple decided to have a press conference recently and at this conference everyone by now knows that they released their brand new Mac which frankly speaking looks rather sweet. The being said, one of the more momentous pieces of news was that the App store was finally coming to Mac. Upon hearing this piece of news some people have become more than a little upset. People such as the chief of Mozilla Firefox has gone as far as to say, “Apple is looking to bypass the web”

Whoa whoa whoaa.. Back it up a bit. Now I’m no real fan of dearest Steve Jobs but bypassing the web? Apparently he feels that the Mac OS X App store requirements will not work well with the firefox open beta development process. In fact in the article from Read Write Web there are others who have been quoted saying

“a computer means you have choices as to what apps you run on it, what apps get developed for it, and how you express yourself using it.”

Well bully for you. I think all of them are just jumping up and down making a lot of noise without understanding both the guidelines of the App Store and more importantly, the whole purpose of the App Store being there in the first place.

So to make things absolutely clear to all of these folks, specially Mike Beltzner, just because Apple went and introduced the App Store for the Mac DOES NOT mean that you will never find your software showing up on the Mac itself. If someone wishes to install software from outside the App Store then that’s fine. They have that option. You don’t need to jailbreak your Mac to be able to install third party software not approved by Apple.

You see, the whole purpose of the App Store is very simple. Have a single repository of software which has the stamp of approval from Apple on it. This means that if I (ever buy a Mac) wanted an application to increase my productivity, something to work with Twitter and if I wanted an application that worked for sure, all I would have to do is get on the App Store and search for what I want. It’s as simple as that. So to summarize what I can get out of the App Store,

  1. Applications that work!
  2. Applications that are safe!
  3. Applications that provide a uniform user experience throughout!

Just to make one thing clear, I use an Android, HTC Desire to be specific, and while I will argue to the death that Android is better in productivity, I will not argue that the applications are of the same level of polish that you see on the iPhone. The main reason for this standard is that Apple keeps such strict rules on their App Store.

So what about the point that affects Firefox.

“Beta releases of applications will be rejected”

So essentially what Firefox is complaining about is that Apple doesn’t want to release an application which HAS BUGS onto THEIR App Store where THEY HOST your applications. And if your application is free, well then they are hosting your application for free too. What makes me scratch my head even more is this, isn’t it really only the tech interested people who actually participate in open beta programs? So wouldn’t they anyway go to the beta download page and download the darn thing? Not having it on the App Store wont kill them. Doesn’t Firefox also have links on their beta page warning users that they will be downloading a beta program so if they want to download a stable release they can do so at whatever other page? So why the complaints?


While reading through the rest of the guidelines there were two other points that caught my attention. The first one that came out was the fact that if the application developed was dependent on any other run time frameworks like Java, then they would be rejected. I can see this causing a few problems for people but I think I understand where Apple is going with this one. Apple wants the user experience on their platforms to always be as simple as possible. That’s why there was no right click. That’s why there’s only one button on the iPhone too. So picture this.

Simple user downloads software. Software needs Java. Software says you need to download Java. It downloads Java. It begins installing and then says installed or whatever. Later on it’ll say need to update at some random time. Sure this all sounds rather simple for the tech savvy person. But let’s face facts. We are the minority. So if Steve Jobs wants to provide an experience for the majority of people where all they do is search, click and run, then by all means we shouldn’t stop that. One more point to note about that particular condition is that if they do allow run times like Java, then where do they draw the line if they don’t want to let a particular run time framework onto their machines maybe due to security concerns. Every framework has security concerns, just that some have yet to be discovered so one can’t reject a framework based on that. After all if an accepted framework suddenly reports a huge vulnerability then would Apple have to block all of them on the Macs till that vulnerability is patched? I think I made my point.

The second point that grabbed my attention was

“Apps that are simply Web clippings, content aggregators, or a collection of links may be rejected.”

So does that mean that RSS Readers and Twitter applications are out? This is the only dodgy point I’ve noticed so far. So let’s see how this pans out.

Oh and before I wrap this up… I’ll just address one more point from the Read Write Web post. It’s a quote of some other guy who has a problem with Apple’s latest guidelines,

“If anything, ever, will make me leave Mac for will be the integration of the Mac OS into Steve Jobs' vision of where mobile is going.”

What a load of nonsense. If Steve doesn’t let any applications except those on the App store be installed then even Steve knows that Macs won’t keep selling like they should. Honestly, and to think that people call children “childish”.


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