There is a meme afoot. Apple is evil. Its arrogant ways and dependence on the cult of personality are to be its demise. Developers are said to be unhappy. And, Apple Secrecy Doesn’t Scale.
Google-ification is the way, the RIGHT way.
The Apple Way can’t possibly persist ad infinitum.
You’re just too dumb to realize it.
But, you know what? It’s a crock of sh-t!
In the here and now, Apple’s success is unparalleled, and the engine is humming better than ever on multiple vectors – products, margins, developers, profits and consumer engagement.
Simply put, the goodness of Google-style openness, and the good tidings it provides for consumers and creators, does not in anyway invalidate, lessen or neutralize the effectiveness of Apple’s proprietary, integrated, secretive, totalitarian-style approach.
That’s why in the burgeoning iPhone, iPod touch and (soon) iPad Tablet mobile broadband device ecosystem (46M units, 65K apps, 1.5B app downloads, 8B song downloads, and counting), unless and until there is a better alternative, the lion’s share of developers will bitch in the morning and double down in the afternoon…on all things Apple.
All of that said, a paradox for Apple is this. For Apple, it’s never about total units. It’s about value, differentiation, leverage and margins. Let others chase unit counts at all costs.
For developers, however, at a certain point it DOES become about units, if for no other reason than once enough numbers are installed on a given platform, it’s market share that is worth pursuing (by building native offerings for).
The part that is invisible is that at some point an Android gets ready for prime time (John Gruber ponders this one well in his post ‘The Android Opportunity‘); or a Pre-type of device establishes a real beachhead with developers; or RIM gets a clue in terms of an apps/ecosystem strategy, and all of the sudden, Apple is having to play defense. At the present, it is just running up the score.
Why? One size doesn’t fit all when it comes to mobile broadband.
The day is coming, though, and that is a good thing, inasmuch as lack of competition leads to sloth where product innovation matters are concerned.
Disclaimer: I generally (but not always) prefer the type of integrated, fully formed solution that Apple delivers to what feels like a more ‘lowest common denominator’ oriented approach by Google. Your mileage may vary.