Last time I checked there was 140,000 Apps in the iTunes App Store ... but that was a few weeks ago so there's probably about 150,000 now. Literally thousands of new Apps are being Approved weekly. The tide of new iApps is unstoppable, and grows by the day.
A large majority of those Apps are free Apps. And of those most are what I call "Junk Apps" made by someone with too much time on their hands ... Apps that will never be developed further because the coder has lost interest. For the most part these Apps just clutter up the App Store.
If there's 500 Apps in the App Store that are truly useful, I'd be surprised. That leaves 149,500 Apps that are junk Apps. So what should Apple do about it?
In my opinion, the first thing Apple should do is get rid of free Apps. Free Apps serve no purpose.
They are either created from ego by somebody that just wants to do it, or they are marketing and promotional pieces that derive economic gain for the maker by either directing people to a paid product or by serving some form of advertising. In either case, the maker is unlikely to spend much time or resources making the free App better, or innovating in their space to create an App of quality that people will want to use over and over again.
The biggest problem I see with free Apps is they ruin the market for actual App developers by pushing down the price that can be charged for Apps of quality. If people must choose between 2 similar Apps, they'll typicaly choose the cheaper one even if it's inferior. And if the cheaper App is free, all the better.
Free Apps stifle innovation. It's all a mater of economics. Because of free Apps, $5 has become the maximum you can charge for an iPhone App and still have people consider buying it. If they can find a similar App for $3, they'll buy that one instead, 99 percent of the time.
But as an App developer putting time and resources into creating useful and innovative software, you have to do some number crunching. If you sell your App for $5, you need to sell 10,000 copies to make $50,000. That's a heck of a lot of $5 Apps! If you could charge $50 for the same App, you need only to sell 1,000 units to make the same amount of money.
And there goes the market for new and innovative App development. Because of the price of free, we've come to see even $5 as too much to spend for a new iPhone App. Even if the App looks great and works well, we'll choose an App of inferior quality because it's $3 cheaper ... or best of all, Free. Who want's to spend that $5 anyway.
But even $5 can't compete with free ...