I’ll post this thing that just occurred to me, because I amused myself with it and it seems to sum up the situation with the App Store.
Before the App Store, Mac apps were like a comedy or a drama on HBO. Big budgets, top talent, and absolutely no restrictions. Everyone was working under just one limit: what’s the best thing they could produce?
After the App Store, Mac apps are like a show on network television. The limits there are much more real: what’s the best thing you can produce, under the restrictions imposed by broadcast standards?
The way I see it, under the new rules, there’s the risk that Mac software might occasionally be as good as “The West Wing” but it could never be as great as “Boardwalk Empire” or “Curb Your Enthusiasm” or (the absolutely shattering documentary) “How To Die In Oregon.”
“Futurama” and Conan O’Brien were forced to flee to cable TV, while “Family Guy” and Jay Leno continue to flourish on networks. Honest to God…is that what you’d like to see happen to Mac software?
[Notes: Yes, thank you, I know that “Family Guy” was exiled to cable for a bit before being brought back to FOX. That doesn’t change the fact that it’s a lazy, sucky show. And the larger point is that creative endeavors don’t exactly flourish under content limitations.
At minimum, the new rules represent a major (and hopefully only temporary) setback. It’s going to take some time — maybe even a couple of years — before developers learn how to do everything they need to do under App Store restrictions, and Apple learns which of these restrictions could stand some loosening up. And until that happens, there will be some very real limitations on how good a Mac app can be.]