Degradation or Aspiration

David Smith:

I want to believe that the App Store is a special place. I want for it to be the singularly best venue for customers to come and find innovative, well designed, quality software. Software that pushes the boundaries of what is possible and continually amazes and delights its customers. I want for there to be an aspirational pull upwards on my own development. I want to feel like I need to work extra hard to make sure my apps meet the high standards my customers have been trained to expect.

For that admittedly idealistic ambition to be a reality requires work. The natural tendency of things is to grow more and more degraded overtime, for entropy to slowly creep in and undermine even the best of intentions. It requires obvious, intentional leadership to stem the tide of mediocracy. Even more subtly, once you see this decline as inevitable you all but guarantee that reality.

It’s not just the App Store that we want to feel like a special place — it’s iOS itself. Using iOS, on both the iPhone and iPad, dozens of times every day, for stretches long and short, should feel like a platform in pursuit of perfection. Having a de facto standard practice where apps badger you at seemingly random moments with pop-up ads prompting you to rate them is in contradiction to this ideal.

Smith is right; Apple needs to do more, much more, to improve the App Store discovery and shopping experience. But flaws in the App Store do not excuse a practice that has become a blight on the everyday experience of using the platform.

Monday, 16 December 2013