Apple has been taking a beating this week. Between its alleged censorship of the Ninjawords dictionary and its rejection of the Google Voice application, users and developers are riled up and angry. It is possible that Apple’s authoritarian control could jeopardize sales of its long-rumored tablet computer.
Apple clearly is concerned enough about the bad press that Senior Vice President Phil Schiller found it necessary to defend Apple's dealings with the Ninjawords App developers to blogger John Grubber.
If Apple is intent on using the App Store for its upcoming tablet, as is widely rumored, the company needs to rethink its policies. While it's clear from the comments on one of my previous posts that people think the Apple device will be more popular than I do, users may think twice about purchasing one if they think Apple could pull an app from the store on a whim. I'm sure Apple doesn't want to risk any of the $1.2 billion of revenue that Piper Jafray financial analyst Gene Munster thinks they could earn by selling 2 million units in 2010.
Apple's tablet would fill a perceived void between handheld devices like the iPhone and full-blown laptop computers. While people are used to having limited application availability on their portable devices, they don't expect manufacturers to tell them what apps are or aren't available on their portable computers. The rumored 10-inch screen falls squarely in the land of netbooks, which can run any app that Windows developers choose to write. Since the Apple tablet will cost close to twice what a typical netbook runs, customers might be hard-pressed to justify the purchase knowing their freedom to choose apps is limited by Apple.
Michael Scalisi is an IT manager based in Alameda, California.