Following on from my earlier grumble, I’ve decided that there’s quite a bit more to dislike about the iTunes App Store.
- Subcategories For Games Are Rubbish
- Developers Are Flooding The Store With Apps
- The Icons Are Ugly (And It’s All Apple’s Fault)
- The Top Apps Are The Top Apps
Read on to find out why…
#1 Subcategories For Games Are Rubbish
UPDATE: Kudos to Apple – they’ve added a new “More Games” box underneath the “Categories” box in iTunes. Clicking on each category in More Games takes you to a list of all games in that category. This is the ideal fix, and I’m impressed with how quickly they’ve done it.
They’ve also updated the iPhone version of the app store to list all games – kudos again for doing this so quickly. The only downside there is that the games with a lowercase first letter appear at the bottom of the list, after those beginning with a capital Z. That’ll teach us for being fanboys and calling our game “iDrops”.
Here’s what I posted originally:
The App store uses subcategories for games. Unfortunately, Apple have only listed eight games from each subcategory on the App Store. So whilst you can go to Business and see all Business apps, you canâ€™t go to Games and see all Games. Even worse, if you go to Games and click to â€œSee Allâ€ Puzzle / Strategy games, you just get a list of the eight from the Games portal. No mention that any other Puzzle / Strategy games even exist (and especially no mention of iDrops, which I co-wrote, dammit).
The fundamental problem seems to be that the existing iTunes Store metaphor â€“ of portals and lists â€“ doesnâ€™t really work for the subcategories used in the games section of the App Store. The only option is to go to Quick Links > Browse, and look at a list of Puzzle games. This view lists the Name, the â€œArtistâ€ (which is actually the company), and the â€œAlbumâ€ (the game name again), with no description of the game itself.
This problem is even worse on the iPhone version of the App Store. It goes: Categories > Games. And thatâ€™s it. 15 games. Other than that, itâ€™s â€œFeaturedâ€ or â€œSearchâ€.
And why is â€œChess & Backgammon Classicsâ€ listed under â€œBusinessâ€?
#2 Developers Are Flooding The Store With Apps
Certain developers have flooded the store with lots of apps â€“ most notably â€œAppEnginesâ€, who have added 43 (thatâ€™s 43) ebooks, each as a separate $0.99 application. When viewing the â€œAll iPod Touch Applicationsâ€ list, every one of the 24 pages contains a couple of these â€œappsâ€. Likewise with iLingoâ€™s ten travel applications (all thankfully listed under i for iLingo). If I was one of the developers who hadnâ€™t been able to get their app approved for the App Store launch, Iâ€™d be mighty annoyed with AppEngines.
Of course, part of the problem (to be fair to AppEngines) is that the iTunes payment model doesnâ€™t lend itself to â€œbuy the app, then buy the contentâ€. AppEngines couldnâ€™t sell an eBook reader and then enable users to buy new books for it â€“ that just doesnâ€™t fit with the established iTunes Store metaphor on which the App Store is based.
(On that theme, my friend Ben suggested a scratch card app to me the other week â€“ where you would â€œscratchâ€ the touch-screen interface to find out if you had won. If not, youâ€™d simply buy another scratch card. With the App Store metaphor, youâ€™d have to ship a whole lot of apps, each with a different image under the scratchcard. And one of those apps would be a whole lot more popular than the rest.)
#3 The Icons Are Ugly (And It’s All Apple’s Fault)
The iPhone and and iPod Touch automatically pre-render the shine on your icon for you. So does the App Store. Unfortunately, this really does not make for a good App Store experience. There are plenty of badly-designed icons on the App Store, before they get rounded and sheened. Part of the problem here is that app developers havenâ€™t been able to preview how their icons will look in the App Store until now. The result, unlike the square-edged, nicely-drop-shadowed album covers of the main App Store, is a bit of a mess.
Also, icons seem to be a bit off-center on the app store, as if theyâ€™ve been rendered a couple of pixels too high.
#4 The Top Apps Are The Top Apps
The problem with having a â€œTop Appsâ€ list on a new store is that the Top Apps are inevitably the featured apps. If youâ€™re not featured, you arenâ€™t going to be breaking that list any time soon. (See #1 above. Not that Iâ€™m bitter.)
Iâ€™m sure more will come to light soon