AP news on an iPhone
AP news on an iPhone - 
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by Jeff Horwich

Apps will be the focal point of Apple's World Wide Developers conference this Monday, and some developers are struggling with the technology.

Writing an app can be a lot like using one: It's fun, addictive -- and in the end you're not sure it was best use of your time. Developer Jen Beaven has 11 apps in Apple's iTunes store. "We love them and we hate them, because they give us this beautiful platform to write for, but it's very hard to actually find an app in the app store."

But with nearly 200,000 apps on the market now, search is cruicial, and Beaven says Apple's search and navigation is primitive. Some say Apple's approval process is still in the stone age too. Developers like Aurora Matzkin say it can be maddeningly opaque. "An app can get rejected for all sorts of wacky reasons. You can get an app through and you do a revision, and something that was in the app you got through gets rejected."

App developers number 40,000 and counting. Many of them like to complain about Apple, but Macworld editor Jason Snell says most are grateful to Apple for creating a huge new market for them. "This whole app-buying culture, these are people who never download software on their computers. And yet the app store has made it a mainstream practice."

Even with Google's Android gaining fast, Snell says no other platform is so worth the pain.

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