Another Way Apple Could Lead

Here is something that I could have published on my secondary blog (https://numericcitizen.micro.blog) but the importance of the subject is too high not to put it on my main blog.

Apple’s power and leadership are undeniable. The expression of this leadership takes many forms: design, new standards, market domination, etc. Recently, Apple’s power with its App Store got more attention. We all know by now the latest controversy about HEY rocky start which was the clear result of Apple’s power on developers. But a recent article by John Gruber got my attention “A Moment of Clarity Regarding the Raison d’Etre for the App Store“.

A recent update by Google of its Gmail app introduced support for iPadOS split-screen multasking, five years after this feature was introduced by Apple. Five years. Google probably don’t care.

Google makes a lot of software with terrible user experiences for users who have poor taste. Their iOS software, in particular, has for the most part never suggested that it was designed by people who like — or even use — iOS

Jogn Gruber

The fact that Goole doesn’t care is one thing but the fact that Apple makes it look like they don’t care too is troubling, to say the least. While I applaud Apple for promoting privacy protection in many different ways and enforcing it by the design of its operating systems and its App Store, they could and should do the same with good design.

Apple undeniably wields great power from the fact that the App Store is the exclusive source for all consumer software for the iPhone and iPad. Why not use that power in the name of user experience? Imagine a world where the biggest fear developers had when submitting an app for review wasn’t whether they were offering Apple a sufficient cut of their revenue, but whether they were offering users a good enough native-to-the-platform experience. Video app that doesn’t support picture-in-picture? You’re out of the store. App doesn’t support dynamic type size but clearly should? You’re out. Poor accessibility support? Out. Popular email client that doesn’t support split screen? Out.

John Gruber

Gruber’s article is spot on and should bring the issue of bad application design in the spotlight. The whole history of Apple is to strive for excellence in user experience. Apple has to be more stringent about what requirements need to be met in order for great applications to be more prevalent in its App Store. It should start not only by pushing great pixels arrangement but also by supporting basic user interaction features like split-screen in a reasonable time frame. Five years is not reasonable, it is a consequence of not caring enough.

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