David Heinemeier Hansson argues that app selection isn’t that important for the success of a mobile platform because most people probably don’t use much more than ten apps anyway. He might be right that most people don’t need or even want more than ten apps – but it’s a pretty big fallacy to think that everyone would want the same ten apps, as David Barnard beautifully argues in this post:
If we took a poll of all iOS users and asked for a list of the eleven absolutely essential, can’t live without apps I bet we’d end up with at least a thousand different types of apps. A doctor might include a medical imaging app, a musician would likely include a multi-track recorder or some other musical sketch pad, an artist would include an actual sketch pad app, a builder might list an estimating app, a freelancer a time-tracking and invoicing app, and so on.
And that’s why devices like the N9 need thriving developer ecosystems to succeed. Besides, even if a large selection of high-quality third-party apps weren’t a competitive advantage, a lack thereof certainly isn’t either.