Pixel Envy

Written by Nick Heer.

Towards a Better App Store

David Smith:

I’m genuinely hopeful that we will see several improvements to the App Store introduced this summer alongside iOS 8. The App Store has (in part) driven the wild success of the iPhone. Having a great user App Store experience helps everyone. It helps Apple sell more iPhones. It helps customers enjoy their iPhones. It helps developers sustain their development.

Imagine if you visited one of those big box stores — Best Buy or Walmart or something — and every product in the store looked pretty much the same: same size, similar colours, a tight range of prices, and so forth. Now imagine that instead of offering 100,000-150,000 items, the store offered over a million.

The App Store has been overwhelming for a long time, and it only gets worse as more apps are added without making substantial changes. Apple has tweaked a few things over the years, to varying degrees of success. The recent improvements to search are welcome, while the new card-based results UI should probably be reverted.

There are far more significant issues with the App Store, though, and Smith does a fantastic job of outlining ways in which these problems could be fixed. I’m as hopeful as Smith for these improvements, but I’m discouraged by Apple’s record on the App Store.