State Of The Apps

Most common words in 1-star and 5-star App Store reviews

The most common words used uniquely in 1-star and 5-star App Store reviews, according to Instapaper and Tumblr developer Marco Arment who wrote a script to collect the data:

5-star: awesome, worth, thanks, amazing, simple, perfect, price, everything, ever, must, ipod, before, found, store, never, recommend, done, take, always, touch

1-star: waste, money, crashes, tried, useless, nothing, paid, open, deleted, downloaded, didn’t, says, stupid, anything, actually, account, bought, apple, already

His analysis is well worth the read.

[Marco.org]

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Why Apple may be removing desktop/dashboard/widget apps from the App Store

Since the iPad launch on April 3, TiPb's been getting tips about desktop/dashboard/widget-style apps being removed first from the iPad App Store, then from the iPhone App Store as well. There are a number of examples, some well known by now, some relatively unknown. The commonality between all of them is that they've tried to somehow make the iPad or iPhone into a Mac- or PC-like screen filled with mini-apps like browsers, email clients, calculators, weather, etc.

Some look almost exactly like Apple's Mac Dashboard, other like Windows of various flavors. Others don't look like desktops at all but rather place widgets on top of photos or other, more specific backgrounds.

Devs have worked around this by using a much more restricted metaphor, like a double tiled display, or by going the Jailbreak route, or they haven't worked through it and just gotten frustrated at the opacity of the App Store review process and not known how to proceed.

I can't claim any special insight or information on this, but my best guess is that Apple is removing (or advising they will be removing since not all of them have been pulled yet) the apps for the same reason they originally didn't include cursor (arrow) keys on the Mac. It's a pretty well known story and one that's been used a few times in different commentaries on the iPhone and iPad and Apple's direction thereof, but it bears repeating.

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App Store search spam -- can we get a rejection for that?

Go to the iTunes App Store, search for an app you want, and get your results flooded with spam-apps. Its a growing problem as unscrupulous developers keep finding new and annoying ways to try and game Apple's approval process and scam users.

Marco.org highlights some of the worst offenders, but more importantly offers legitimate developers a way to take action:

When an app is infringing on your copyright or trademark, the proper procedure is to send a clear notice to appstorenotices@apple.com citing your intellectual property and which apps are infringing it (provide their iTunes URLs to eliminate ambiguity). As part of this notice for trademark infringements, you can request that apps not be allowed to use your trademark to market themselves in search results (keyword spam).

Hopefully Apple will save developers the frustration and

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Another developer returns to iPhone post-iPad

Frasier Speirs, one of several well-publicized developers to leave the iPhone over objections to Apple's App Store policies and controversy surrounding app rejections, has decided to return, post iPad, and his reasons are intriguing:

I suspect that the days of everyone buying a MacBook to get online are soon to be over. I've already written about how I see our three-Mac family turning into a one-Mac, three-iPad family over the next hardware cycle and I imagine that scenario repeated industry-wide over time. Already the ratio of iPhone OS devices to Macs is 5:2.

He believes Apple can and will reject apps, and that the frontier days of computing are giving way to the mainstream, appliance future.

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UPDATED: Pulitzer Prize winning satirist can't get into App Store

UPDATE: According to the WSJ, Apple has contacted Fiore:

Apple called the cartoonist Thursday and suggested that he resubmit the app, Mr. Fiore said in an interview. “I feel kind of guilty,” he said. “I’m getting preferential treatment because I got the Pulitzer.”

Preferential perhaps but not uncommon. Several controversial app rejections have been reconsidered when publicity brought them to the attention of higher-ups at Apple. Unfortunately, the "review team rejects, executive team reconsiders" is not a scalable or likely desirable strategty for Apple.

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Regarding Apple's use of private API in iBooks

Marco Arment raised a flag on the iPad App Store field today and called foul over Apple using private APIs in their first-party iBooks app.

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iPhone and iPad Developers and the Upcoming UDID Crunch

Apple is about to add a third device to their iPhone OS family, the iPad, but so far developers are still limited to 100 UDID "slots" for ad-hoc distribution (aka beta testing), leading Craig Hockenberry of the Icon Factory to wonder on his Furbo.org blog if the "crunch" is coming.

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Apple Cracking Down on Mass Produced, Low Functionality Apps?

TechCrunch is reporting that companies who mass produce (or provide tools and templates for the mass production of) "cookie cutter" apps are hearing that they need to add differentiation and functionality or risk Apple not allowing them into the iTunes App Store. Jason Kincaid says:

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UPDATED: Upgrade Pricing Finally Coming to App Store?

UPDATE: Or not, as this dialog's been around for a while as per 9to5Mac's @llsethj.

Developer Frasier Spears posted the above "curious" iTunes dialog to Twitter. It appeared when he hit "Update All". We have no way of knowing exactly it means, but we're hoping it means upgrade pricing is finally coming to the app store.

As background, one of the problems still facing developers has been the inability to offer paid upgrades. Either they had to give away new versions for free, or they had to create new apps with no way to discount the price to existing users.

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Apple Removing Wi-Fi Scanning Apps from App Store

Cult of Mac reports that Apple has begun removing apps from the iTunes App Store that scan for Wi-Fi access points. It looks like these apps are being removed due to their use of private APIs, which is prohibited by the iPhone SDK agreement. This would make it similar to the recent removal of apps that misused the iPhone camera DCIM folder to store and exchange documents.

There's been some suggestion, however, that list reflects a policy change from Apple closer to the recent removal of sex-based apps.

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