The 'race to the bottom' is something anyone with half a brain can see, and anyone who's a developer looks at that and must feel some gnawing fear. Maybe I'm wrong, but I feel like we're all pushed to mobile (if you're not on mobile, you're out of touch!) and when I look at the market, it gives me the willies. I don't think the Google Play Store is doing any better in that regard either. Worse, I don't have the foggiest idea of how to correct the problem, not even one that would take Herculean effort from either company to employ.
I'm not sure that this is as much of an issue as people are making it out to be. I do agree that developers should get paid for their work and curation needs to be a bit better (though I find that is somewhat at odds with the complaint that the Review Board rejects stuff...should Apple be more hands on or more hands-off?)
After reading through the article, I checked out the apps that the folk made and used some left-over freebie money from when I last bought a Mac to get their product. They're absolutely right that it is a very clean, well polished, functional app. I also have absolutely no use for it.
The two apps mentioned in the article, Vesper and Twitteriffic, are not suffering because of poor visibility in the app store or the race to the bottom; instead, neither really fulfills any particular need, Vesper in particular. Their description left me just completely dumbfounded as to what the app was actually for:
Vesper is a simple and elegant tool for collecting notes, ideas, things to do -- anything you want to remember. Organize your notes whatever way comes naturally to you, without complications. Vesper's focus is on how it feels to use.
Did you get anything from that except that Vesper is a notepad application? Can you think of any reason you'd need an advanced notepad on iOS? Much less one that uses yet another cloud service instead of iCloud? Again, I can appreciate the quality of the app -- it really is a pretty application. But their problem isn't Apple facilitating people racing to the bottom, it's that their app is basically a $10 substitute for what already exists in iOS; yes, it's all in the same spot as opposed to being spread over apps, but that's not $10.
Twitteriffic itself isn't particularly well made -- it's a mess of a screen and it looks cobbled together. The ads are far more intrusive than the original Twitter app, the coloring looks really bad (like geo-cities era webdesign bad), and it feels so much more like a "me too" app than anything.
What these devs seem to be missing is that while there are issues with curation in the Appstore, it doesn't impact their applications in the way they imagine. Vesper is an app trying to solve a problem/need that no one has. Twitteriffic is just a bland twitter clone with a few functions that the native client already supports or that no one wants. Even if Apple kept both apps on the featured page for weeks, it wouldn't change anything -- the apps just don't really do anything. It's not enough to make a pretty app for iOS, it has to actually serve a need, and if you can do this, people will pay. On Cydia, there are a few tweaks and apps which met needs that iOS didn't have. Prior to iOS 8, there was a need for MyWi, and I still use it on iOS 8 cause I like it better. Maybe with enough marketing spin and catchy advertisements, the likes of Vesper can convince the public that they need Vesper, but as it stands, it's not that apps like this are being treated unfairly, it's that there just isn't a need. It's like an art student pouring months into a painting that no one wants to buy -- we recognize the talent, but we've deemed it's not worth it. You can't just make a really slick product that does nothing and expect it to sell at $9.99.