Timothy B Lee writes of the App Store/iPhone and now iPad lock-in:
The store is an unnecessary bottleneck in the app development process that limits the functionality of iPhone applications and discourages developers from adopting the platform.
While instinctively I agree, the evidence for the damaging effect of the App Store is not there. On the contrary, the locked-in iPhone has transformed the mobile app market and expanded it remarkably.
Reason: the user experience is great, the approval process at least weeds out apps that would be intrusive or harm performance, and installing an app from the store is less risky than installing an app onto Windows or OS X.
Ironically, Apple’s own iTunes is an example of an app that installs services you do not necessarily want or need. Personally I keep it off PCs and use a Mac Mini for gadgets that require it.
Is it possible to find a app distribution model that avoids the monopolistic and dictatorial model of App Store, but delivers an equally good user experience during and after purchase and installation?
A good question, but to my mind an open one.