inessential by Brent Simmons

Robb Beal on ignoring indie apps

Robb Beal asks: Why do they ignore the indie apps?

He’s talking about when someone writes about user experience: why write just about Apple’s apps?

I have a couple ideas why:

1. Apple can take it.

If the piece is very critical (as it often is)—such criticism could hurt the sales and reputation of a small developer disproportionately.

Say I don’t like how app x (by small developer y) does something, and I notice that, say, Mail or iCal or whatever does the same thing. I’m going to write about the Apple app.

2. Mac users all use software from Apple, so your audience knows what you’re talking about.

Even if an article is talking about a specific app you don’t use, there’s a good chance you have it in your Applications folder and can launch it. No need to download and install anything new.

People write for an audience, and writing about Apple software has more of a built-in audience.

Update: see the comments—Buzz Andersen makes the point that indie apps are talked about all the time.

Update 2: don’t misunderstand—Robb is talking about writing about user interface, not about writing about indie apps in general.

Update 3: You might think that I’m complaining about NetNewsWire coverage or coverage of indie apps here. I’m not! I’m replying to something Robb Beal said, and saying why I think there are good reasons that people who write about user interface often write about Apple apps.