As you are surely well aware by now, Apple released their Podcasts app last week. They clearly spent quite a bit of time on it, regardless as to whether or not we geeks seem to like it.
If you recall, as I'm sure you do, many months ago Apple released iBooks. With quite a few deals with publishers. They clearly spent a lot of time on that. And indeed, many people get the iPad with reading as one of the things they would like to do with it the most.
Which makes me wonder… Why aren't these apps a part of iOS? Why doesn't iOS ship with them already installed, as part of the OS? Why do people have to download them separately?
As it happens, when you first turn on your iPad and open up the App Store for the first time, there is actually a prompt asking if you would like to download iBooks for free. Again, why not just include it with iOS? Apple isn't going to have a pop-up like that for Podcasts, I'm sure. They can only have one of those pop-ups, and even that one is pretty strange.
In fact, I would go so far as to argue that Apple creating apps that are sold in the App Store is a little strange as a whole. I mean, for things like iLife and iWork it is understandable. For Pro level apps in the Mac App Store it is understandable. But free apps? I don't know. There's just something weird about it. And you can't argue that Apple should include all of their free apps with iOS, because most people aren't going to want the iTunes U app, nor the Apple Store app (at least they are certainly not necessary out-of-the-box).
And by the way, that is all forgetting about just how awkward it is that Apple sells their OSs as apps in the Mac App Store. I mean, it's not an app. It's an OS! Look at the Top 10 list for a second. Mac OS X Lion has been in the number one spot since its release. In all practicality, the Top 10 list should just starts at number two.
But getting back to Podcasts and iBooks not being an official part of iOS. It's not because Apple isn't taking them seriously because they clearly are. It's not because they don't care — as you can clearly see with iBooks and the new textbooks/iBooks Author app they released.
So why, then? Why not just include them as part of iOS?
I just don't get it.
I'm not sure how Apple can fix this problem of their free apps — or even if it's a problem worth fixing. But it sure doesn't sit well with me.