The idea of an “App store” is pretty new. In the past if you wanted to develop an application you would write it and publish it on your site for users to download. Apple had a different idea. They wanted to control what applications were on the device (presumably to protect their image) and so they developed the App Store. Now, if anyone wanted to develop an application for the iPhone, you have to go through Apple to get it approved.

At first, it seemed that Apple was only denying apps that infringed on built in functionality—Android has a hundred different phone dialers, iPhone has one—programs like Google Voice were denied. Then Apple changed the rules. Apple said they didn’t want any “overly sexual” apps on their App Store and then they deleted all pornography and similar from their store. After that, they started to deny applications that had “limited functionality.”

I have mixed feelings on the idea of a controlled app store. On the other hand, shouldn’t people be able to have the apps they want, even the pointless duck phone app? On other hand, I understand that Apple wants to protect their image, not to mention if it were my app store I would ban pornography apps as well, I don’t condone pornography of any kind and I applaud Apple for sticking to their guns on that issue, but at the same time, I don’t think that there should be such a strict approval process.

If I were Apple I’d do things a little differently. In the official app store, as part of the developer’s agreement I would absolutely say that any apps that were overly sexual, crude, vulgar, offensive or malware would be summarily removed. Other than that I’d let the customers decide what they want.

What do you think?