Mobile technology should not be about cramming the office into your pocket but a way to enjoy your everyday life.
Apple's iPhone Application Store
I have had a number of Nokia smart phones for ten years now and during these ten years I have bought only one application for them.
There have always been add-on software available for Nokia's smart phones. Nokia has been pushing the software development kit (SDK) and generally tried to encourage third party software development for Nokias mobile platform trough all kinds of support programs. The potential market has also been huge, Nokia has been the largest handset manufacturer for years.
During my first few weeks with the iPhone I already bought three applications. I have also installed far more free applications in these few weeks than I ever did with my different Nokia Communicators and Symbian phones.
Why? Buying and installing applications for Nokia phones is complicated while doing the same with the iPhone is a joy. Not only is the App Store a simple to use uniform marketplace that makes finding software simple and and paying for them safe. The App Store is also a place where you don't have to worry about being fooled into installing malware and know software will live up to certain basic quality standards.
Developers have been complaining about the restrictions Apple put on them - no being able to run applications in the background and so on. I love this restriction. Of all the free applications that I installed in my Nokia phones, half took the liberty to run in the background.
Did they run smoothly and without making the phone unstable? Of course not.
Did they even need to run in the background in the first place? Of course not.
Not allowing third party applications to run in the background is the only option and I salute Apple for having the currage to stand up to developers and forcing them to play nice with peoples phones.
The iPhone is a tightly controlled and locked down environment and the App Store a carefully controlled walled garden and this is it's strength.
I don't want every 15-year-old self-taught coder to invent his or her own user interface standard or making his or her own additions to the Application Programming Interface. OpenClip? No thank you.
What is good for the developer may give short term gains but to get long term gains you have to do what is good for the end users that expect simplicity and consistency.
There is room in the market space for the other extreme too, the fully open anything goes platform Android. Both models have their own benefits as neither can offer everything to everyone.
Screenshot: GTS World Racing on the iPhone 3G (5,99 € in AppStore)