Today’s Obsession: Weirdness in the App Store

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Ryan Block has written an interesting take on what sort of work might be sold in Apple’s new desktop App Store, and his opinion on what consumer-level users expect to pay, which sort of freaks me out. For the longest time now, we’ve watched software development turn into something end users expect to be free, and to the point that it is not viable as a means of self-support.

I think without the means to support themselves through their own work, we may be missing out on a lot of developers who will simply refuse to create work the world expects not to pay for. That in turn reduces the amount of creativity available in the public pool of developers and designers, and that means that as a culture, we begin to wither.Additionally, Apple’s put out some fairly stringent rules: no apps marked beta, demo, or preview (reasonable), nothing which runs at startup without permissions (also reasonable), and nothing which installs system extensions (definitely reasonable), and finally… nothing which changes Apple’s native user interface widgets.

What? Apple can suddenly decide that our projects need to be displayed on crappy pressboard wood shelves from IKEA, but if someone else has a similarly silly opinion it’s automatically off the table? Come on, that’s just infantile. Considering how fast and loose Apple’s been playing with its own interface guidelines, it stands to reason other people out there might have a better idea. In fact, it’s likely. Cover Flow didn’t come from Apple, neither did the Flurry screensaver, and even iTunes is based on SoundJam MP. To suddenly tell the community you’re in charge when you show no real rationale of your own? Just a little weird.