Each year at the big WWDC event, Apple announces the winners of the Apple Design Award. This is a prestigious award to receive for anyone in the iOS or Mac development arena. Here’s how Apple themselves describe the purpose of the awards: The Apple Design Awards 2011 recognize outstanding achievement and excellence in iPhone, iPad, […]
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2011 Apple Design Awards Open Only to Apps Available in iOS or Mac App Stores – WHY???

AppledesignAwards2011

Each year at the big WWDC event, Apple announces the winners of the Apple Design Award. This is a prestigious award to receive for anyone in the iOS or Mac development arena. Here’s how Apple themselves describe the purpose of the awards:

The Apple Design Awards 2011 recognize outstanding achievement and excellence in iPhone, iPad, and Mac app design.

Good stuff. I always enjoy seeing which iOS and Mac apps are winners of these awards. This year Apple has changed the criteria for selecting winners. Only apps that are available ‘on the App Store’ are eligible to be considered. From the FAQ section of the WWDC 2011 pages:

Does an app have to be on the App Store to be considered?
Apps must be available on the App Store by May 23, 2011, to be considered for an Apple Design Award.

I’ve been playing around with ways to say what I think of this change – and I keep coming back to what I emailed my colleagues at iSource – it’s an asshole move.

For iOS apps, I think it’s fair enough – there has never been any other authorized way to make apps available for iOS devices other than the App Store. Apple’s stance on jailbreak has been clear from the very early days of iOS – so this part of their decision doesn’t seem at all surprising. We’ve never seen a jailbreak app win a design award, and would never expect to.

The same does not apply at all to Mac apps. The Mac App Store has been around for 10 minutes. Developers have been publishing great Mac apps for years outside of any app store framework. And now, if any of those developers have not moved their apps to the Mac App Store, they’re excluded from Apple’s design awards. The Mac App Store is the new kid on this block, developers have not even had a year to transition their apps over to it; for those who even want to go that route.

I just can’t think of a reason why this move makes sense, or how long-time Mac developers who have not moved over to the Mac App Store would not see this as a kick in the balls. For developers who have been creating Mac apps for years, when all of the time the platform held less than 10% market share in the PC world, this is the thanks they get?

What am I missing here? Please let me know why this is an OK change, and why it makes sense for Apple? Do Mac developers think this is all good?

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