After 4 weeks with Apple’s iPhone 4 I’m mainly impressed with everything other than the call quality (I am in a poor signal area for O2). I’ve been exploring the App Store though, and while there are many great apps there, there is also a huge amount of junk. Here’s a review for an app I was looking at:
This app is such a con. The adverts are deliberately put in the most awkward places so they get pressed accidentally; there is no “would you like to make a call” dialog box, nothing, it goes straight to an 090 number and even if you cancel the call instantly you are still charged … Apple should be ashamed for letting this little con artist on to the app store!
Other users report frequent crashes, lost data and so on.
With over 200,000 apps available, it’s not surprising that some are duds. However, given Apple’s insistence on checking every one, I’d expected the overall standard to be higher. Apple cannot easily judge how useful an app is, particularly in a niche area, but things like instability or unfair advertising practices should be caught.
Another odd thing: if you browse the store on the device, you cannot sort by rating, as far as I can tell, making it hard to find the better apps quickly. I guess this could be designed to mitigate the “winner takes all” factor: if one or two apps in a common search category achieve high ratings, it is difficult for newcomers to get noticed sufficiently to drive up their own ratings. Still, give the amount of dross in there, it would help to have this as an option, even if it were not allowed to be the default sort.
The existence of so many poor apps also puts into context the Thoughts on Flash posted by Steve Jobs. I kind-of understand why Apple wants to exclude the Flash runtime from its device platform; but that does not explain the ban on Adobe’s Packager for iPhone, which compiles a Flash application to an iPhone binary. That might make sense if Jobs could point to the consistent high technical standard of iPhone Apps; but that is simply not the case.