Neutralising Applethink

Neutralising AppleThink
Watch out Apple! App publishers choose to go the web-app way instead.

In my previous post about the Smartphone wars -“ Android vs Apple – I had touched upon the point that some people feel that Apple may have adopted a rather restrictive approach when it comes to their devices and the app store.  While consumers have to get used to downloading apps from the Apple store, the deal is not so sweet for the app publishers.

This is what a recent HBR post says –

An interesting battle is looming over Apple’s newspaper and magazines subscription pricing for iOS devices (notably the iPad). Apple’s offer to publishers is simple. They can offer an app that allows consumers to buy individual issues of their content or to subscribe to it from within the app; the publisher sets the pricing. But Apple will take a 30 percent cut of the revenues and it will also require the publisher not to undercut the price offered to iPad app users.

Which is why we now see newspaper and magazine publishers – the likes of Playboy and Financial Times – coming up with an interesting way of bypassing the Apple App Store. These gutsy app publishers have chosen to make iPad optimised websites rather than apps that are downloadable only through the Apple app-store. While for Playboy it might be that they do not qualify for Apple’s strict no-nudity policy, for FT, in their own words –

Firstly, the HTML5 FT Web App means users can see new changes and features immediately. There is no extended release process through an app store and users are always on the latest version.

Secondly, developing multiple ‘native’ apps for various products is logistically and financially unmanageable. By having one core codebase, we can roll the FT app onto multiple platforms at once.

Well Playboy’s and FT’s reasoning does seem to be sound from the user’s perspective too. While with the use of HTML 5, there is close to no compromise on the experience of the app – you can still touch,  swipe and flick your way through the app – the user is also not forced to get tied down to a medium and can access the same content on any device via the mobile web app route. This is also perhaps clear writing on the wall for Apple on exactly what they are doing wrong by having such a strong control over their app store. Clearly where Android seems to be scoring higher points.

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Smartphone Wars

Wanting to buy a touch-screen smartphone, I asked the good people on Twitter for their help in choosing between an iPhone 4 and a Galaxy S 2 and was overwhelmed by the number of responses in favor for Android! There is no denying the kind of support / backing Android has managed to get over such a short period of time. Surely they must be doing something right. Was discussing this with boss-man and I got a smile as an answer. He had of course, yet again predicted this a while back.

So what is it that Android is doing so right, or Apple doing so wrong? The 2 very strong viewpoints I got were –
1. Android is much more configurable. It gives the power in the hands of the user. AND it’s cheaper! “Why throw away your money on iPhone when you can get something just as good much cheaper.”
2. While there is no denying the User Experience of the iPhone devices, a lot of people seem to find the Apple way of working rather restrictive. Even the store manager at a store in Saket said (and I paraphrase) – “iPhone does not give you the flexibility of sharing data. No bluetooth. You can only transfer data to your device using iTunes. And you can sync your device with only one pc at a time or risk losing all your data.”

The restrictiveness of the Apple-way also comes to the fore when we see their strong control over the app store and their continued resistance towards Flash (Adobe). App publishers like Playboy and Financial Times are now coming up with innovative ways of bypassing Apple’s restrictiveness – which may also be quite beneficial for the end users actually. I will try and cover that in another post though.

Lifehacker has also compared the 2 OS from the perspective of a ‘Power User’ in this post.

Apple vs Android (source: Lifehacker)

While the Apple vs Android debate may continue, Ideafarms is backing Android for now. We also welcome your opinion on the topic. Do let us know which phone / OS you prefer and why. You can also join the discussion here –>

[As for me, I might still end up getting an iPhone but that’s because it’s an old itch I have to scratch. Although I must admit I almost changed my mind 5 times while writing this post :D]

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