One has to admire JLG’s tenacity: He’s offered up this piece of advice as the App Store hit 250k, 500k, and 1 million apps. But his argument is sound. He calls on Apple to follow Michelin’s century-old idea and offer a highly opinionated, curated guide to the App Store.
It seems like such an Apple way to solve the problem of an overabundance of apps. And it doesn’t necessarily seem out of reach, since Apple already has a review board that at least does a cursory review of every app submitted. Why not assign those reviewers to highly specific categories of apps and allow them to turn their experience and familiarity with the apps themselves into targeted reviews in that category?
Every great developer would welcome this and fight for recognition of the work they’ve done – just as high end chefs covet Michelin stars. It would also turn the review process into something more than an extremely esoteric pass or fail. Review would be seen by app creators as something with meaningful output – perhaps even forgoing launch to re-tool a key feature based on insight from the experts – rather than a week long hassle of wait. And with all the handwringing and worry of late from indie devs about the possibility of making money in the store, the highly coveted badge of honor might encourage app users to pay for truly great apps.
The benefits to users themselves are even more obvious. Who wouldn’t be more willing to part with money on an app that you know was already thoroughly vetted by the same company that made the iPhone or iPad you so enjoy? Why waste time slogging through a ton of mediocre apps when I can see exactly what Apple thinks are the top 5 apps in a category and why each one is great?
Just as the Michelin guide probably had little meaningful effect on the bottom line of a tire company, this idea would not do much to bolster App Store gross receipts. But that makes it an even more Apple thing to do: put the everyday joy of their customers ahead of any profit-shaving bottom line concern.