Who among the OS X and iOS faithful have not purchased and downloaded apps from either store? Apple makes it too easy to shop and buy, right? Or, do they? It’s easy to buy and download, but is it really that easy to shop?
Fix The Flaws, Please
It’s not that either app store doesn’t work. Both are good at displaying apps, and the purchase and download process– when it works– works very well.
The first major issue is the inability to search for apps within a category by popularity, or ratings, or downloads.
In other words, it’s not easy to figure out which applications are the most well liked by users and buyers without clicking through page after page after page.
Let me use the Mac App Store as an example. Click the Photography category menu. The choices are anemic.
See All is nice, but doesn’t let you sort by anything except Name and Release Date. Why isn’t there an option for Most Popular?
The Photography page, as with other pages, also displays the Top Paid, and the Top Free apps, each with a See All button.
Sorting is limited to Bestsellers (duh), and Name. Again. What does Best Seller even mean? User Ratings are scattered all over the searched pages, in no particular order.
The same holds true for other categories which makes it difficult to search and find high rated apps.
Similar problems plague app searches in the iTunes App Store for iPhone and iPad. All too often, a newly released application is publicized but cannot be found during a search of the app store. What’s with that?
Not only is search broken, so is how Apple displays search results and details for an app. Prior to iOS 6, search results were stacked vertically. In iOS 6, results are displayed horizontally which results in a loss of information density.
Skimming through app search results is annoyingly painful. The old way was much better. Apple is going backwards while trying to improve searching through a million iOS apps.
Where I once could scroll comfortably through dozens and dozens of app search results, the new method tires me out after five or six. What’s wrong with an option to toggle between the new and old search results, Apple?
Finally, both app stores need some filtering capability. I’m tried of wading through orphaned applications. Allow me to filter apps that have been tested on iOS 6, or released within the past x-number of months.
It’s a database. It can’t be that hard to create search options and filters. App discovery is a painful process in both app stores and needs to be fixed.
Here’s an added bonus complaint. In-app purchases. No, I don’t mind upgrading to more functionality from within an app (which treats the base app as a free trial with more features added for a few dollars). What I object to are bait and switch, and apps that seem to promise functionality, but hide or bury the in-app purchase functions from users.
Apple improved iTunes in the most recent version, but searching for apps remains in the dark ages.