As I said a few years ago, the likelihood that an app will be Sherlocked depends less on the quality of the app than on the effort Apple puts into its purported replacement.
The example Papa Drang uses is Apple’s own Podcasts app. As he writes, Apple took the nascent podcast market and Sherlocked guys like iPodderX and Odeo with iTunes in 2005.
Of course, Apple re-Sherlocked the podcast client scene with its own first-party client, as The Good Doctor wrote:
Unlike the podcast integration in iTunes, the Podcasts app was clumsy, ugly, and harder to use than the existing third-party solutions. A later version of Podcasts was said to be an improvement, but it still stunk. When a further update hit the App Store, I refused to test it myself and waited for others to report on the new odor. This was a good decision.
Apple’s tendency to is to move into a complex market with an app or solution that covers the basics in an easy-to-use way. Very often, this leaves room in the market for third-party apps to cater to power users. Pocketcasts, Instacast, Castro and Downcast are all doing fine. Hell, new players are joining the fray.
While the pocket created at the high-end of the market is great for users and developers, it speaks volumes about how Apple approaches software, and highlights the tension that some of us have felt for years while dealing with Cupertino’s applications. Final Cut Pro X, GarageBand and iWork have all taken big hits after recent updates. More on topic, the feature set for Apple’s Podcast apps looks good on paper, it is more or less a dud. It currently is rocking a 1.5 star rating on the App Store.
All of this builds the case that being Sherlocked doesn’t have to be a death sentence for an application. Apple launching an app with a similar feature set as a popular app doesn’t mean Apple’s solution will be popular … or good.