David Smith & Justin Williams, two developers that I admire, recently offered their thoughts about the "back catalog" of products within the iOS App Store. Each suggested that Apple would benefit by culling apps that were no longer actively maintained from the App Store.
David noted that Apple is taking steps to improve app quality, requiring that submissions after May 1 must include support for the iPhone 5 display. I suggest that Apple could do even more - it should consider removing apps that haven't been updated within the last year.
First of all, the iOS Developer Program is offered as an annual membership. Moreover, Apple requires review & approval before apps can be distributed in the App Store. It also aggressively deprecates device support with each update to iOS (e.g., the original iPad cannot be upgraded to iOS 6). As long as Apple maintains a cadence of nearly annual updates to its operating system, wouldn't it make sense to automatically deprecate apps that lack support for the latest & greatest features of the platform?
komorka recently released Edgewise 2.0 - an app that I am particularly proud of. Prior to that release, however, it had become an app that I was not so proud of. Due to a general lack of time, it had languished without a substantial update since May 2012. I considered removing it from sale, but every time I did, I would receive a positive review or an encouraging email that prompted me to reconsider. In the end, I'm glad that I persevered - the result is much more representative of the work that I strive for.
Unfortunately, however, Edgewise was not the only original komorka project. Each of the remaining titles represents a prior investment of time & energy, as well as an ongoing liability: the commitment required to both support existing customers and improve the products over time. Its disingenuous to continue marketing these apps when I know that I won't be able to devote much time to them in the near-term.
Today I am doing my part to help cull the App Store's back catalog. Effective immediately, komorka has retired the following apps: StereoMatic, 123 Forecast, and Tannenbaum.
In the near future, I hope to share news about another project that more accurately reflects the quality of work komorka aims for. I also plan to discuss what's occupying most of my time this year.