David Smith:

I think the App Store is arriving at a place where Apple faces a pronounced decision point.

The App Store currently contains over a million apps, each of which has been reviewed by Apple at least once. Apple has spent a tremendous amount of time and energy to make the App Store what it is today. The road to get here hasn’t always been easy but I think Apple has done a commendable job to bring the Store thus far. The challenge they now face is that to continue to maintain high standards will require exponentially more and more effort.

I think apps like Diet Coda, Editorial, 1Password, Fantastical, OmniFocus, Day One, et al. are some of the quintessential examples of apps that really push the boundaries of what iOS devices can be capable of doing.

Naturally Apple cannot get every app and every developer to “play nice” and stop gaming the system, but if they can keep the App Store in a place where the aforementioned powerful and thoughtful apps are able to thrive then it will encourage other developers to build their app at the same caliber.

However, when an app like Tiny Tower gets picked as the (2011) Game of the Year, that doesn’t spark confidence.

Right now Apple mostly promotes apps that fit in with the latest design trends, use the latest APIs, and/or are popular with mainstream media. Yes, of course we want our apps to stay up-to-date with the latest designs and APIs, but a bland app can do that just as well as a forward-thinking app.

And so where is the incentive for a developer to spend the additional thousands of hours it takes to build a powerful, thoughtful, delightful app? And, on the other side of that coin, what is Apple doing to educate its user-base that these apps are worth their “whopping” $3 price tag?

Degradation or Aspiration