back to article HTML5: An antidote for Apple App Store-itis

To the man with a hammer, everything looks like a nail. Or in the case of our idea-starved tech industry, an app store. The tech world is increasingly awash in app stores. App stores have been all the rage for the past few years due to Apple's success, with more than 300,000 apps currently available for iOS devices. In a …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    "... groks ..."

    Oh come on now... how old are you?

    1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

      Re: groks

      How old? Well "groks" is in some *very* early versions of the jargon file. That would argue for someone around 50 or later. Perhaps you are too young to know that.

    2. Ari 1

      my complaint on "groks" is of a different nature

      my complaint on "groks" is of a different nature:

      Google "groks" the web so much better?

      Google Wave!

      Google have shown themselves to be great at search and advertising. Other things have mostly suffered from "almost great" syndrome. Almost great just doesn't cut it when the competition IS great.

      No, dear author, I think you rather underestimate people's willingness to pay for software that pretty much "just works" and be able to get professional quality applications.

      And for the other linux geeks and their suppositories (sorry, repositories); YES, the repositories are old news, and YES they are very, very good when you can get what you need. If you need an IM client, a database management tool (for OSS DBs) or an administration tool then it's great. If you want a tool that comes with a 500 screen long man page, then you're also in luck.

      IF, however, you want video or sound editing tools that do not make you long for DEATH (I mean for real AND efficient editing and production of A/V) then you're shit out of luck. EASY TO USE. GOOD LOOKING.

      And no, OpenOffice cannot be fixed by slapping a new coat of paint on it. Neither can most of the other applications. Good looking is designed along with easy to use, and easy to use comes early in the development process. Trying to do it afterwards is like putting lipstick on a pig.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Short memory?

    Have you already forgotten that Apple first tried to sell the idea of web-apps to potential iPhone developers? The response wasn't good - almost nobody like it, and Apple was accused of trying to pitch a half-baked solution to them. Everyone wanted native access, a real API. And once Apple delivered, iPhone development skyrocketed in a way that surprised everyone (including Apple, I think).

    And, in case you missed it, Apple still pushes HTML5 and web/cloud-based solutions too. They aren't so prominent to the public simply because developers haven't seized hold of them in the way they have with the App Store. I think the reasons are simple: 1) You can generally produce better/faster solutions with a native API; 2) The App Store provides a great mechanism for pairing developers with customers, i.e. making money, and it's relatively cheap (30% is a very reasonable margin for what Apple provides).

    1. Miek


      "30% is a very reasonable margin for what Apple provides" : are you f****ing kidding?!

      1. hexx
        Thumb Down

        is it not?

        what is reasonable margin then? have better idea? you don't need to worry about anything else than development. they host your stuff, sort out billing, promotion and so on. what's wrong with you? it would cost you more to sell your app by yourself, much more than 30%!!!

        1. Ari 1


          Doing business is expensive.

          Remember that up to/around 50% of the sticker price of a shrink-wrapped program bought in a store goes to the store itself. Then there's sales tax. Shipping costs. Customs (if manufactured in another country). Storage costs, then you have a publisher and finally you have a developer...

          (If you've worked at a computer store and the markup was less than at least 50% (I know I showed a 100% markup) then your store was probably buying from a local "super" store at "wholesale" prices, or from a local wholesaler or distribution centre, That extra middleman took the rest of th 100%markup)

          A $50 program earns the developer maybe $5-$15.

          That is MUCH less than 70% of the final price. Which is why developers see no problem in selling titles for $10 which are usually sold for much more; this is the price that the title is worth to them. They may even be getting MORE per copy, and selling much more copies at the lower price.

          So the Apple store (or others like it) is a brilliant deal for those who can make software worth owning, as it cuts out quite a few middlemen.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Linux beat them to it ages ago

        Want to download You Tube clips to your local machine? There's a respositoty package for that.

        Want to edit video or create 3D animations? There's a repository package for that.

        I'll admit, it's a bit of a mounthfull, but it's been done before, jobs.

        1. Woodgar

          re: Linux beat them to it ages ago

          That was pretty much my thinking when reading this.

          Fire up your "application manager", what ever variety your current distro is using, search for what you want and click to install.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Not kidding

        @Miek: "are you f****ing kidding?!"

        No - I have to pay resellers between 40-60% to handle my software, and they do a lot less than Apple.

  3. Andy 73 Silver badge

    An interesting take..

    But in many ways this comes up against the same problem that has plagued 'non-app' content - subscription services either have to be high cost, or 'chunky' (periodic top-ups that allow aggregation of low individual fees). There's still the need for infrastructure that allows regular, small value payments to be made for content, or applications.

    Clearly what's happening here is the line between the two is blurring. Dynamic content? Apps that serve up static media (Stephen Fry I'm looking at you)? Regardless, this smooths the value increments, and should make application developers realise that software is not the fire and forget vehicle it once was.

    If Google, Paypal or some other industry stalwart were to grease the wheels with a payment and delivery service that embraces these new shades of grey, they would stand a good chance of moving beyond Apple's early dominance.

  4. Rupert Stubbs

    Not sure you grok Google...

    Surely what Google groks is advertising.

    Advertising makes things appear to be free to the consumer, while Google rakes in its cut. This is why Android is "free", and why Android apps tend to be far more ad-based than iOS ones.

    So where do you see Google's embracing of subscriptions? Or did it sound good when you wrote it?

    1. henchan

      recurring payment options

      "So where do you see Google's embracing of subscriptions? "

      The author did not mention that the Chrome App store currently does support both one-time and/or recurring payment options.

      As a developer for that platform I'd be keen to see it also support 'in-app purchases'. For apps which use this payment model on other platforms (iOS iirc), recent research has shown in-app purchases to account for nearly as much revenue as their software sales.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Would these be anything like the web apps

    that Apple was vilified for announcing as the only way to expand the functionality of the original iPhone?

  6. Tom 7

    Its about access

    1)With the web you have access to everything, except things you haven't paid for.

    2)With store-itis you only have access to the things you've paid for in case your a very naughty boy.

    I like option 1 myself.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down


    Bit of a short sighted article that forgets that people have a certain amount of free will.

    Since there are so many apps in the app store, being the next angry birds is increasingly unlikely (partly due to the poor search facilities in the app stores).

    So developers and their clients are increasingly writing apps that compliment their other services and very few of these focus on one platform or delivery. While this may not be the most efficient or desirable it is necessary to keep up with the marketing and non-tech side of things.... go where the customers are rather than the typical IT attitude of where you would like them to be.

  8. Anonymous Coward

    Who wants subscription services?

    Subscription services? No, thank you. I prefer to pay once for software and use it (locally) as long as it is fit for my needs. Today software is powerful enough you need upgrades rarely. And that's the reason why they try to move people to subscriptions. They need to make you pay anyway. And remote application - using HTML 5 or whatever - won't be really usable unless you get cheap, fast and symmetric bandwith, no daily/weekly/monthly caps (and expensive fees after them). The new model business just mean because most companies are unable to deliver new appealing products they try to trap the customer into a subscription model.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Up

      AOL of the mind?

      Hear, hear! All this drooling about the cloud just boils down to replacing dirt-cheap storage, RAM and processing power with expensive (and in many cases still slow) communications links. If people want everything in the cloud then why are there so many different programs and websites for downloading YouTube videos? In the real world people want things where they know they have got them, under their own control, and where they don't need anyone else's permission to use them.

  9. Frank Bough

    Wow, someone missed the point

    What on Earth have app stores got to do with the WEB? Just as we're moving away from email (to what, exactly, I do not know) the web is fighting an increasingly losing battle with the internet, and it's ability to provide the backend for much more efficient discovery, marketing and distribution systems like app stores. get over it, the web is not the answer to everything on the internet, and it's increasingly taking its rightful place of jut one of many protocols.

    1. the future is back!

      "The Point" as metaphor

      Walk into my (note I said "my", not "a" just so you know where I stand on this) friend's house. There you will find about 6 books. Coffee table editions, probably from big box Costco. They don't read much there, but DO get the daily local newspaper.

      Then, go to my OTHER friend's house. There are actually TWO library rooms there. Rare books. Map books. History books. Brand new books - at leat several every few weeks. Old, old books. Original or first editions. Books on his and his wife's family history. Large books - mainly art special issues. You need a bloody ladder! Probably 10,000 volumes? What? Dunno know if they have been counted.

      Nuance. Both of these persons I consider my close friends. "Friend" is NOT a button or click-on. The APP store model cannot and yet can (all depending upon the beholder's values) be representative of someone's online experience. "APP" markets are limited. For the curious, both WEB and the APP model need be up and running.

  10. Kevin 9


    Until the bandwidth available over the air catches up to the needs of the vast majority of users, don't expect mobile SaaS to catch on. In most places in the world, mobile data is simply to expensive to consume letting your device communicate with an outside source whenever it needs work done instead of running it locally.

    Once it becomes ubiquitous and cheap, maybe it will happen. But for me personally, I hate anything with a recurring fee so the value would have to be extraordinary to win me over.

  11. Anonymous Coward

    Repeat After Me Matt: Foxtrott Alpha India Lima

    Apart from selling software, which I am not too much concerned at the moment, App Stores are a

    Systematic Fix To Security Issues

    I repeat

    Systematic Fix To Security Issues

    Many laypersons using a Windows PC these days install an application with

    1.) Google "bittorent client"

    2.) They go to the first Google hit and download whatever is on offer.

    And that certainly is laced with malware of various amounts of maliciousness, up to Viruses who will gather your next airline travel schedule to Dubai and your hotel in Dubai, par example.

    If you are lucky, you simply get adware.

    Appstores are a certified and secure way of installing proper software on a computer and they make Virus Scanners redundant. So apart from the business side, App Stores are a leap towards a secure computer for the masses. They tackle the Virus Problem where it should be tackled and that's a good for 100s of millions of computer users.

    Ubuntu has a built-in Appstore where everything costs 0 Euros and 0 cent and any credit card will be accepted. That's a core reason Ubuntu is so secure.

    Matt, please do your homework and don't just talk to marketing drones. Thanks.

    1. konstructa

      Dont get it

      What about downloading apps that are in the app store with bitorrent for free? Is that secure? The people who don't want to pay for apps will still get them. Downloading from app store=Downloading from website unless I am missing something.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Now that I apparently have insulted someone, could you please at least run an article why Appstores are good from a computer security perspective ? That they solve one of the biggest security risks, namely downloading from websites which should never be trusted ?

    It does not have to be the same author.

    Thanks a lot.

  13. Werner Donné

    Web-centric is not browser-centric

    You don't have to display the GUI in the browser to be web-centric. A lot of native mobile apps are perfectly web-centric. In a lot of cases they are more efficient and cosume much less bandwidth, because they exchange only data with their server.

  14. Julian Lawton


    Google may grok the web, but they don't grok selling digital content.

    I think they are starting to - having invested heavily in funding various think tanks and lawyers fighting for copyright reform to push everyone over to an ad-funded service model, they have woken up to the fact that consumers evidently are paying for digital content, so they want a slice of the pie . . . . but it is also evident they are always late entrants to any digital market (music, books, apps) - and they're still pretty poor at building systems that work for the creators (i.e. the many complaints about the Android App Store from people actually trying to sell software rather than advertising).

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    HTML5 is still over-hyped!

    HTML5 cannot do everything and is not mature enough yet, let-alone has enough non-beta browser support! e.g. IMHO Firefox 4 Beta is _still_ far too unstable, so not usable.

    You will always need client-side Apps for some tasks, especially off-line stuff.

    Until HTML5 browser supports proper, isolated HTML Apps processes, like Mozilla Chrome does, this is BS; links are not the answer.

    You really don't get this until you have used a tablet device 'in anger' e.g. running Android 2.2

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