I think the author is wrong here; apps do offer real value but they are still close to being worthless economically. What developers should start realizing is they shouldn't spend so much effort on todo lists, podcast clients, rss readers, or any other trivial app category that many people do as side projects for free for fun.
As a result we might get more genuinely innovative apps as developers look more closely at what niches are being underserved.
There is a new era of apps being ushered in as a result of Bluetooth LE. Take advantage of it.
If the only way to do anything in mobile is to constantly be outrunning the onrushing boulder of the shitty free knockoffs, it probably makes more sense to just go do something else. (This is where I'm at now; there are no good applications for a number of things I really want, but there's also no way to recoup the time investment of making one just so you can get one-star reviews for "$5 is too expensive".)