Overall this reads like "my refrigerator keeps food cold, it is reliable for years, the novelty has worn off" or "I went to the grocery store and bought every cereal in the cereal aisle, there are too many, it's hard to find good ones, the novelty of having all this cereal has worn off, let's go back to when oatmeal was the only choice." I guess this sort of thinking is inevitable when you hunt around for apps. Most people don't hunt around for apps. They have a need, then they get an app. They're happy.
My battery life now is superior to before. I suspect that a lot of the apps I had were phoning home or disrupting WakeLocks like Facebook does.
I am officially appskeptic. A lot of the old apps I used to use I can do most things through their mobile sites. For the ones I can't that I have to use I go through the website.
I remember the days of the first iPod touch and early iPhone where Apple championed web apps vs dedicated. I wish the trend would have continued that way (even Windows Phone would be viable if so).
The argument for apps over mobile web only works when the app respects _both_ the user experience and resources of the device as well as the mobile experience does.
Apple and Google are just HUGE marketplaces where you can find anything, shoveware included.
We don't call Amazon the "new Atari" because you can find tons of crap books, and not just Shakespeare and awarded novelists.
It's absurd to expect not to find tons of shovelware in a app stores with 1 million titles. Plus, one man's shovelware is another man's "gem of an app I use everyday".
The question is whether there are a few thousands of great apps (and the answer is definitely yes) -- not whether all 1.5 million apps in there are great.
1) there were multiple app stores
2) Apple would curate their own app store
I think that approach would solve so many problems. The first would see app stores that were limited in scope (not all, but some). Some would curate, some would not. The non-curated ones would be easily avoidable.
The second option needs to happen. The shovelware on the Apple app store makes me want to avoid it as much as possible. If Apple would hyper-aggressively curate their own app store, I think the overall quality would rise.
Of course, I realize this probably won't happen. Lockdown of the app store is directly tied to their bottom line.
Android also has the issue that installing from a third party app store requires enabling installing off all apps from "unknown sources", which presents a malware risk. It would be nice if you could insert trusted third party app signing keys.
There is also the issue that device vendors are contractually obligated to not install any third party app stores if they want to have access to the Play store. Of course, I'm generally in favor of this, since 3rd party app stores are generally awful (and certainly people don't really want a carrier or device manufacturer based app store, which is what would happen). But, that restriction also keeps 3rd party app stores from getting any traction, which leads to developers ignoring them for the most part.
Personally, I'd hope Apple would keep only the five or ten best-of-breed apps in each category; the apps that best showcase Apple's tech and UI.
So, basically keep, e.g. 100 categories * 10 apps, like 1000 apps, kill the other 1499000 apps, and alienate millions of people and especially all those programmers...
So while it would be nice to have, I don't see anything special in having Apple curate the app store themselves.
The same could be (and probably was) said about the Atari game collection.
The iTunes App Store is reported to have 1.5 million apps, whereas the Atari 2600 game collection listing contains around 565 games (and the Atari ST, if we're talking about that 505).
So, yeah, from a pure quantity perspective I'd expect quite a lot more opportunities to fall upon shovel-ware among 1.500.000 million titles than among 500.
And even if both had the same ratio of good apps, e.g. 0.5% this still leaves 7500 good apps on the App Store (more than I'd ever need or could even have time to use), and about 3 good apps on the Atari collection.
In both cases, the sheer quantity of total garbage content gets in the way of individuals finding high quality content that meets their needs and expectations.
Whether the absolute number of quality apps is fairly high
or not is entirely beside the point.
This is all about a) perception, and b) accessibility. If the perception of apps is that they're garbage, and that perception is backed up by an experience that makes finding quality content difficult, that's a problem, whether there's 100 quality apps or 100,000.
I didn't brought up the Atari metaphor. I'm just calling it bogus for 2 reasons: you can't possibly curate and rank 1500000 items the way you could 500 (like Atari had). And you don't need to.
A large amount of crap in such quantities of items is both expected and inconsequential. Nobody calls Amazon a bad shop because it sells all kinds of crap products among the good, or asks them to curate their offerings.
>In both cases, the sheer quantity of total garbage content gets in the way of individuals finding high quality content that meets their needs and expectations.
That hasn't been the case in any other field. There are tons of garbage consumer electronic devices, but people do manage to find and buy good stuff. Tons of bad movies and records, but people do manage to find compelling stuff they like. Tons of crap on Amazon, but people still buy all the good stuff they like.
What I'm saying is, when one is talking about a "shop" with 1 million and more items, it's both totally expected and totally irrelevant that tons of it will be crap.
I don't see any perception problem either. It's mainly small developers who complain about that, implying that their apps should be highlighted by the Apple Store etc -- as if that's even possible when there are 100s of thousands of devs asking for the same thing.
Like with every other huge market, physical or digital, people just search and buy first and foremost the well known and trusted apps (Facebook, Google Maps, Paper, Angry Birds, whatever). Those are the ones created by big players (e.g. Google, Microsoft), the ones talked about in the media, the ones highlighted in review sites, and the ones that get word of mouth and traction for them.
And they can find these easily, by name, affiliate links, etc, whether there are 100 or 10000000 other apps in the store.
Then there is (at least on typical Android handsets) the undeletable bloatware. It doesn't seem to be quite the problem that it used to be, but it's still annoying. Though I have root, I'm wary of just deleting things.
I have about 85 MB of disabled apps on my current phone, and about 6 GB free out of 16 GB main storage. A 64 GB MicroSD stores my media, so 16 GB is less of a problem here than it is on a Nexus or an iPhone. It's too bad there's such a ridiculous markup on built-in storage, SD slot or no.
I already occasionally purge apps that I don't use, though - and when I install something new, I watch battery life like a hawk. If it shows any sign of misbehaving, away it goes. If it needs ridiculous permissions (like location information for a flashlight or a metronome) it doesn't get installed in the first place.
In-app ads aren't a huge problem to me, but they annoy me anyway just because of so many deceptive "Clean your phone of viruses!" ads (often with fake "close" buttons) that bamboozle less-savvy users.
I'd like to see the FTC give the deceivers a good stomping, but in today's political environment that's unlikely to happen anytime soon.
Start caching the stuff you obviously don't want to re-fetch over HTTP every single time the user scrolls around in their timeline, and 100MB is a pretty reasonable footprint.
Similarly, when you transfer to a new phone or restore, it won't take those files with the backup, and if you have a bunch of files still around, it'll re-download those, taking several hours or days.
It's been almost a decade since the App Store was introduced.
In what way would it still be a "novelty"?
It's now a tens of billions annual app marketplace.
This was the most interesting line in the article for me because I recently had the same thought. But my reaction was to uninstall Facebook because I wanted to use it less!
It's one of the best computing decisions I've made in years. I still have Messenger so I don't miss anything truly important. The FB web app is perfectly serviceable for the rare occasion when I need to use it. My battery life has improved. The rest of my Facebooking now happens solely on my PC and all I really miss out on is scrolling through the same items in my feed 6 times a day.
The two simple acts of uninstalling Facebook and turning off push notifications for email have given me back those periods of the day where I'm alone with my thoughts. You know, those moments that people are always lamenting have been destroyed by the smartphone.
This blog feels like it's a few several years too late.
That's Mossberg for you. He's a good and thoughtful writer who today only writes about what we already know.
* Apple iPhone SE
* Apple iPhone 6s+
* Apple iPhone 6s
* Apple iPhone 6+
* Apple iPhone 6
Its definitely not hard to find Android phones with 8 or 16GB of storage, especially on the cheaper end. Saavy consumers can get a pretty solid Android phone for around $200, though. I'm specifically thinking of the Moto G, now on its 4th iteration, and all of them have been fairly well spec'd and reviewed for that price point.
Motorola does have some cheaper options, even the Moto G you mentioned starts at 16GB, and it's a $200 phone that is actually pretty good, as you pointed out. The comment I was responding to was talking about "Android phones with 8GB in which the OS takes 5GB and undeletable apps use 2+GB" that carriers were supposedly duping people into buying. That's just not the case, and hasn't been for probably five years.
My wife's phone has all movable apps except Trello moved to SD, along with all photos, Audible cache, etc., and it's running about 300MB free on the phone most of the time. When we bought it I assumed it would be fine because my low end HTC came with 2GB free space. The difference I missed was Android 4.4 is much larger.
We will try replacing Facebook/Messenger with Metal as suggested elsewhere and see if that leaves more wiggle room and improves battery life and overall performance.
I don't think I've had more than 50 installed at once. Having 305 installed seems like the app version of being on Horders.
Facebook Messenger, for instance, is just "Messenger", removing the company name. There's a built-in app named that as well, and I always forget which is which.
Unfortunately, not a solution for iPhones.
I have an old but trusty iPhone 4S with 16gb, so I certainly have memory problems. however, I've found that programs usually aren't that big – it's usually the data. Photos, podcasts, caches... those are the things that really add up without you noticing.
A lot of apps can be several GB by themselves alone, e.g. some 4-6 GB game titles, etc. Music apps with sample content tend to be on the multi-GB camp too.
And of course the user might also have most of those 64GB taken by his music, videos, and photos.
A bargain at 16 gb upgrade for $100 from Apple /s
I wonder how he feels about The Verge not having a native app.
I have a handful of apps I use 2-3 times a year (like Eventbrite or Delta or Airbnb), but I keep them because it's easier than redownloading when an event comes up that does ticketing through them. Those go on the last of my homescreens so they're out of the way until I need them.