It's Good Enough

It's Good Enough

While the entire post is worth reading, Marco Arment summarizes several serious issues with Apple’s App Store:

I don’t think any of this is malicious (except the App Store question dodging at WWDC). I think it comes down to a simple flaw:

Apple thinks this is good enough.

And that’s the scariest part of all.

The real issue here – and I think it’s a big one – is that Apple is requiring an age rating of 17+ for any iPhone app which allows unfettered access to the Internet. This leads to a 17+ rating for Instapaper and (I assume) Google Mobile Apps (since you theoretically can subscribe to adult oriented RSS feeds, etc.) and Safari since it’s a web browser and you can surf pornographic content using it.

What’s that? Safari is included as a standard application on the iPhone? Well, I’m sure Apple has some sort of pop-up notification warning you about the potential to view pornographic content with it. They don’t? You mean to tell me that Apple is allowing my kids to view pornography with no warning at all?

I hope you can feel the sarcasm in the previous paragraph. If not, please don’t email me about it.

However, I’m willing to bet that Google doesn’t have to jump through the same hoops that individual developers must. After all, we already know that Google uses undocumented APIs which are off limits to the hoi polloi. I’d bet hard cash that Google isn’t subjected to the 17+ rating that Instapaper is.

Apple needs to get on top of this situation ASAP. It’s leaving a bad taste in the mouths of independent developers and consumers alike. That’s the same base that made Apple the juggernaut it is today. It’s these type of situations that lead to cracks in the wall … cracks that competition slips through, ultimately pulling customers and developers away. The App Store is the 800 pound gorilla today, but unless you feed and care for it, someone will knock it from its perch. Ask IBM.

That Apple would begin thinking the current situation is good enough is worrisome. Apple didn’t build its reputation by being good enough. They built it by being better. And they’ve sustained it by being the best. The fastest way to go from the best to bottom of the pile is by thinking your efforts – at any point – are good enough. Ask Dell. Ask Microsoft. Ask Yahoo.

The App Store, while currently a shining jewel in Apple’s crown, could very easily turn out to be their Achilles’ heel … the thing that leaves them slobbering in a dark alley and mumbling “I could have been a contender.”

Good enough is the enemy of best. Apple has built their empire on being the best. I’m hoping, along with thousands of independent developers, that they’re not resting on good enough. The App Store’s profitability might be good enough for their stockholders, but it’s capabilities and inherent red tape and attendant rules will never be good enough for their customer or developers, because we’ll always be looking for more and we’ll always be seeking out the best.

We’re the customers and people who build the tools. When is good enough ever good enough?