If you haven’t been to the Safari Extensions Gallery in a while because it was terrible, never updated and impossible to finding anything, check it out again. Apple updated it at some point recently to make browsing categories and finding extensions easier. It only took them several years to do it. Of course there’s still no search, so it’s a little more like a feature page for a product than The App Store, but hey, maybe by 2016 or so we’ll get there1.
As happy as I am that Apple did update their site, I’m sort of surprised they bothered. The dearth of good Safari extensions compared to what Chrome has is a good example of Apple’s tendency to get something going, get kind of sidetracked and then not give it the attention it needs to succeed. FaceTime being pretty much stagnant since day it came out — besides the horribly named “FaceTime Audio” — is another good example. Why doesn’t FaceTime support groups? It seems a little odd it’s missing useful features that iChat video conferencing had ten years ago.
With extensions, if Apple thought they were worthwhile beyond claim feature parity for their browser, they would have launched them with a “Safari Extensions Store” that had the kind of search and curation their other stores have. Without at least that, they were never going to get the kind of massive third party community that other browsers have.
What makes Apple outstanding as a company is their ability to focus. What holds some of their products back is that the level of focus they have can mean things which aren’t considered central to their current plans or business get left to stagnate.
As disappointed as these things can make me, the truth is I know the reason Apple can make things I like so consistently is because of that focus. I know I prefer how they are to the spastic way other companies seem to always be doing fifty things at once. It would just be nice to see a little more interest in these semi forgotten products that they’ve already released.