A Shortage of Critical Reviews and Compelling Applications
I haven’t had much time to really dive into the App store yet (Only yesterday did I download Aurora Feint (iTMS), for instance…) But I’m really curious why I haven’t seen more critical reviews of App Store applications.
In fact, every single piece of info I’ve seen on Apps so far, with only one exception, has been worthless fluff.
Touch Arcade is a new site looking to capitalize on gaming on the iPhone but as of today it only has one worthwhile review up (of Ms. Pac-Man). The rest of the stories there read more like advertisements and fluff pieces– like the site is trying very hard not to offend anyone in its infancy in order to attract exclusive content later.
On de Blob: “While not as graphically advanced as the forthcoming Wii version, de Blob for iPhone does feature unique, engaging gameplay…”
And: Cubes: “…It’s an easy-paced game that’s fun to play and is well suited to short, broken play sessions while on the go. At $2.99 it doesn’t rob the wallet too notably, either…”
This Wired article reviews five applications but doesn’t really offer me any concrete reasons to download any of the Apps and like everyone else, remains surprisingly positive, even though, for instance, Ultralingua wants to charge us $30 a piece for their dictionaries…
There are no comparisons to web services that offer the same thing for free, for instance, and none of the reviews feel like the reviewer spent more than 5 minutes with the applications in question. The games aren’t compared to each other, even though its clear that there is competition. While there’s enough space on the current generation of iPhones to buy all the games you could play, there’s not really any good reasons for having more than one or two good games on your phone at any given time. Why aren’t these apps being compared to each other and/or even to desktop applications?
John Gruber of DaringFireball has given us a no-bullshit review of the Evernote app: “I can’t understand why anyone would deem an app in this state ready to ship.”
And yesterday there was a lot of noise about Jirbo Inc. and a few other developers jumping the alphabetical queue by inserting spaces and non-standard characters into their app names, but that problem has largely been cleared up. (Apple silently started removing these extra characters.)
Largely though, I think the reason we haven’t seen very many critical reviews is because it’s going to take a few months for the App store to really take off before we see anything really compelling on the iPhone. Right now, App developers have to catch up to all the Web 2.0 sites that have had a year to turn their websites into Safari-Apps. After that, they have to match or beat the performance of Apple’s browser itself if they want to sell their apps for any price greater than free.