After years of just counting and touting how many apps are on the App Store, Apple is about to clean up the App Store in a massive pruning move. Last week app developers received an email message from Apple that outlined the company’s plans to do what it should have done years ago. Delete trashy, discarded, non-functional, abandonware apps from the App Store.
Apple has plans to evaluate all App Store apps, but single out those apps that no longer function, don’t meet current review guidelines (which have changed through the years; have you seen a new fart app in recent years?), and discard those that have been abandoned.
Of course, app developers will be given 30 days notice to submit an update that fixes whatever issues Apple identified, and if nothing new is submitted, the app changes status from abandonware to discarded-ware.
Apple also says that apps that crash when tested will be removed from the App Store immediately, and stay offline until the app developer fixes the app and submits it again for review.
What’s In A Name
These changes are the result in an organization change at Apple which put senior VP of marketing, Phil Schiller, in charge of the App Store. One of the first changes was the App Store approval process which went from weeks to days. Now Schiller is cleaning house and ditching the abandonware.
I guess we won’t hear Apple touting how many apps are available for iPhone and iPad users in future keynote presentations.
Another long overdue change has to do with app names which will be limited to 50-characters to prevent names from being stuffed with keywords. That’s long overdue, too. Earlier this year Apple unveiled a new way to search the App Store– for developers with money to burn on advertising search results. That will separate the men from the boys. Discoverability remains an issue, though, and App Store searches are about as anemic as a search option can be.
Also on the way is the highly anticipated subscription model. It won’t show up on every app, but Apple is taking a slice of Adobe’s and Microsoft’s subscription pie methodology. Certain apps will have an annual subscription rate instead of buy-once-use-forever. Of course, app developers need an app that has some kind of ongoing value.
Finally, Apple plans to take half as much money from developers. The current commission– the amount that Apple keeps from the price of an app– is 30-percent, but that drops to 15-percent after one year. That’s good news for app developers; at least, those who can make it through whole year.
More changes are needed, of course, but this is a good start. What I want to see is better search options.