While I personally rely on Amazon reviews, there are a range of other sites that also partially abstract away the need to rely on them completely by doing independent research. Usually by the time I've researched a product I'm interested in, when I go to peruse the Amazon reviews, they're pretty much telling me what I already know. It's also important though to look at the lowest ratings and see whether they're of merit, or written by obvious dunces.
When you cannot run anything on anything unless it's been vetted by a corporation first. That's the real issue here. There will not be a market of alternate devices that are able to run unvetted applications. Whether Apple is particularly dickish in their take on this inevitable future, is a minor point.
So that sort of undermines their credibility in judging other people's work on the basis of usability, doesn't it? Also, the App store search is essentially broken. They should get their own house in order.