The Death of iTunes Apps

By now everyone has heard of the iTunes commercials and the phrase “There’s an app for that”, but how much staying power does it really have?  Just yesterday Google released Google Voice as a standalone web application that can be used in the browser.  For some of us, it’s hard to imagine why this might be better or worse than the current system Apple uses.  But hear me out…

Typically when you want to buy or download an application for your iTouch or iPhone, you head over to the app store icon and browse around.  Once you find something, click ‘install’ or ‘buy’.  These apps are then placed on the main screen and can be opened whenever you’d like.  While this may sound super easy, it also causes problems.

Apple controls each application that is approved or disapproved.  Sometimes it takes them up to a month to approve an application.  Other times they deny applications because it might infringe on their built in phone features.  Such as the case with the Google Voice app.  However, the biggest problem is the fact that each phone brand needs to have their own framework for applications.  There is the Google Android, the Blackberry, and iPhone which require each application to be developed specifically for that phone.  To make matters even worse, there are rumors that the reason Apple does not have flash support on their phone is because they were afraid developers would use that instead of their SDK to develop applications.   There has to be a better way?

What we need is an open source way to develop applications to work on any mobile phone with a browser.  It turns out we already have that folks, and your using the protocol right now, HTTP.  There are a few developers out there who hate using Apple’s SDK to build an app when creating a mobile site will work just fine. Sean of GetClicky is one of them.  The truth is that websites create applications to work in the browser, then have to recode them to work for each cell phone SDK.  What was built for the web browser, should remain in the web browser!

There are plenty of examples of mobile sites that work across every single cell phone platform.  Why bother spending time learning Apple’s SDK to offer things that can be easily implemented with regular HTML?  Plus HTML5 coming up in the next few years to add an even richer interface experience.  Each cell brand should have their own unique call requests to gain access to the phone’s contact list, dialing, and anything else they might need.  If cell brands are concerned that they won’t make money this way, why not have developers pay to gain access to some areas of the phone?

In the end, the death of all mobile app stores are exactly what we need.