Let me say this right off the bat. I absolutely love my iPhone and iPad and the apps that run on them. In fact, I’m typing this blog article on my iPad as I sit in bed listening to Pandora. While I would never give up the convenience these apps provide, I can’t get around thinking these apps are making the Internet more isolated and closed, instead of open.
I don’t consider myself a purist, but do feel like I’ve been involved with the Internet since it’s inception and have some thoughts on how it should work. I suspect Tim Berners-Lee never envisioned a web where you could only get to certain content if you were using a specific device. Or where so much influence was given to a few select companies. However, isn’t this what’s been done on your mobile phone and tablet with apps?
Let’s face it Apple and Google have the mobile marketing locked up and will soon control all the keys to the Internet. Yes, a bit of a doomsday scenario, but who else out there can mount an offensive against either of these companies? Microsoft? I think not as they are just now starting to get into this space. Blackberry? It makes a good paperweight. Nokia? Does anyone under 25 even know who they are? Apple and Google are not only going to set the tone, but also access to the Internet for the foreseeable future.
Web developers are now expected to write apps in addition to their website for iOS and Android. Didn’t we get into this business because we could write our applications once and have it work everywhere? Yes, there were some horrific browser compatibility problems, but they would in general work on nearly any computer. Now developers need to make specific versions of their sites as apps and try to get them approved by Apple. While approval for apps on the Google Play is easier, you still need to write a completely separate version of your website for both iOS and Android.
Yes, there are tools available that make the creation of these apps easier but I’m still struggling with the fact these apps need to be created at all and that I need to get someone’s permission to reach our customers.