Hey kids, what’s the latest craze that will do in our favorite iPhone and iPad maker? Web apps. The latest media noise says there’s a growing trend toward web-based apps for iPhone and iPad. Rubbish. One branded web app does not a trend make. Here’s why all the noise about web apps is just, well, more noise.
No Apps For You!
Way back in 2007, Apple introduced the iPhone and cell phone users fell in love. So did app developers who wanted a piece of what was sure to be a lucrative application development business. If only they could figure out how.
The rest is history. Apple launched the App Store, tens of thousands of developers climbed on board Apple’s App Store Gravy Train™, customers bought tens of millions of iPhones, then bought billions of apps. Along the way, smart phone competitors required dental reconstruction due to years of teeth gnashing jealousy. Oh, and app developers got rich (despite giving up a 30-percent cut to Apple for the privilege).
Of Greed And Nonsense
On the way to cashing in on the riches begat by selling billions of apps, greedy Apple decided to take a corresponding 30-percent cut of nearly anything and everything sold by an app on an iPhone or iPad. That meant subscriptions to news and magazine apps. And Amazon’s Kindle app.
Amazon couldn’t give up 30-percent to Apple on books, so what was the world’s largest online retailer to do? Retaliate?
Some say Amazon’s new Kindle web app is simple retaliation for Apple’s greed. Since much of Amazon’s dealings with booksellers and app developers also seems greedy, I say it’s just the way giants dance.
The nonsense arose when Amazon’s web-based Kindle app became the latest craze, a trend that some say will bring to ruin the iPhone and iPad’s app kingdom. Why? How? Because web-based apps are free and cool and all the other smart phone wannabes have them. Purveyors of highly touted smart phones (highly touted in their own minds, I think), Microsoft, for the Windows Phone 7 phones, and HP, for the webOS phones and TouchPad, are quick to point out that Apple’s platform, the model for apps, is the past, and web-based apps are the future.
That’s exactly the nonsense you would expect from Microsoft and HP because their smart phones don’t have any apps that truly compete with Apple’s iOS-based apps. It’s obfuscation, designed to spread uncertainty, fear, and doubt. Or, it’s just noise.
Web-based Apps Are Not A Trend
Quick. Name your top five favorite web-based apps. Kindle, right? OK, I’ll give you that one (because I already gave you that one). What else? Four more? Three? One?
Regarding Apple’s initial push to develop web-based apps, Macworld’s Lex Friedman notes:
Four years later, some iOS developers finally seem to be embracing that approach—even though Jobs might now prefer that they now avail themselves of the full App Store experience instead.
Wow. Here it comes. The latest trend. OK, there’s Amazon’s web-based Kindle app. And, Vudu for streaming videos. Playboy. Financial Times. What else you got? Anything? There must be a few more new and notable web-based apps lining up to dethrone the App Store and the iOS app platform?
Why? Because web-based apps just are not all that good, as apps go. They’re a slick and shiny but limited interface to an online magazine, or online bookstore, or perhaps an online newspaper, but the whole web-based app experience just isn’t as good as a native app.
And Apple wants it to stay that way. Why?
Google’s Android apps are not setting the world on fire, sales wise. Most Android smart phones, as it turns out, are not all that smart. Rather, most users are not all that smart, and don’t use the phone for anything more than basic apps and phone calls. Those users don’t browse online much, either, which means Google doesn’t deliver up very many ads, which means the whole Android ecosystem isn’t making anyone any money, including Google.
And Apple wants it to stay that way. Why?
In marketing, differentiation is key. Macs have survived near-death experiences because the experience in using a Mac was different; arguably superior. The same holds true for all of Apple’s iDevices; iPod, iPhone, iPad. Compared to the competition, the iOS user experience is more friendly, more useful, has more features (and more apps), can do more, and works better, especially when placed side-by-side with web-based apps.
And Apple wants it to stay that way.
1,000 web-based apps like Amazon’s Kindle app would be a noteworthy trend. Wake me up when they hit 990 so I can join the countdown to Apple’s app-based platform demise.