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Apple's App Store Needs a Radical Revamp; How Would You Go About It? 249

Posted by timothy
from the hammer-and-tweezers dept.
Nerval's Lobster (2598977) writes Given the hundreds of thousands of apps currently on offer, it's hard for any one app (no matter how well designed) to stand out on Apple's App Store, much less stay atop the bestseller charts for very long. In an August 10 blog posting, former Apple executive Jean-Louis Gassée offered Apple CEO Tim Cook some advice: Let humans curate the App Store. 'Instead of using algorithms to sort and promote the apps that you permit on your shelves, why not assign a small group of adepts to create and shepherd an App Store Guide,' he wrote. 'A weekly newsletter will identify notable new titles, respond to counter-opinions, perhaps present a developer profile, footnote the occasional errata and mea culpa.' Whether or not such an idea would effectively surface all the good content now buried under layers of Flappy Bird rip-offs is an open question; what's certain is that, despite Apple's rosy picture, developers around the world face a lot of uncertainty and competition when it comes to making significant money off their apps. Sure, some developers are making a ton of cash, but the rising tide doesn't necessarily float all boats. If you had the opportunity, how would you revamp/revise/upgrade/adjust/destroy the App Store to better serve the developers who put apps in it?
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Apple's App Store Needs a Radical Revamp; How Would You Go About It?

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 14, 2014 @04:33PM (#47673521)

    If you had the opportunity, how would you revamp/revise/upgrade/adjust/destroy the App Store to better serve the developers

    Whup, there's your problem. App Store is not designed to serve developers. It serves Apple. That's all.

  • by ShanghaiBill (739463) on Thursday August 14, 2014 @04:54PM (#47673645)

    Moderation and meta-moderation solve all problems. :/

    There is a big difference. I don't make money for insightful comments. But I can make a lot of money from a highly rated app. So there would be a big incentive to game and corrupt the system. A people-based rating system would likely be an improvement, but it would have to be carefully designed to keep it honest.

  • Re:Two things.... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by plover (150551) on Thursday August 14, 2014 @04:55PM (#47673657) Homepage Journal

    The rating system would be gamed even more than Googl's PageRank system. Too much money at stake.

  • Re:Two things.... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by BasilBrush (643681) on Thursday August 14, 2014 @04:57PM (#47673679)

    1. Remove Apple from having it's name on the App Store (or just allow anybody to set up their own store)

    2. Removing Apple's 100% control of what apps are listed (Or just allow anybody to set up their own store)

    Neither suggestion solves any of the problems listed.

  • Remove old apps. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by BasilBrush (643681) on Thursday August 14, 2014 @05:13PM (#47673773)

    There are apps that were put up years ago, presumably were not much of a success, and remain, never updated. All they do is clutter the store up, and make it harder to find the good, up-to date stuff. They should be removed. It's not obvious how...

    Perhaps when sales have faded to almost nothing. Perhaps remove any that are still using deprecated APIs.
    Perhaps remove any that are not using iOS 7 design features.
    Perhaps increase the yearly charge for being on the store... maybe decoupling it from the charge to be a developer. And make the charge per app, such that no hoper apps are voluntarily given up.

  • Re:Two things.... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by unimacs (597299) on Thursday August 14, 2014 @05:20PM (#47673835)
    The reason the App store and perhaps even the iPhone itself was such a success is because there is only one place you need to go to find Apps. And although many on Slashdot complain about the "Walled Garden", having an App store run by Apple itself provides some assurance to the customer that the App is legit and not some form of malware.

    Is it perfect in that regard? No.

    I'm not sure. What revenue stream does the App store have? I mean other than the $99 annual developer fee. Is that what you meant? The developer tools themselves are free. I used to spend hundreds on development tools and upgrades so I guess I'm not bothered much by the $99. I can play around with the tools and creating apps as much as I want without spending a dime. It's only when I want to put an app on actual device that I need to spend the money.
  • Re:Two things.... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 14, 2014 @05:22PM (#47673843)

    1. Will never happen. Apple didn't get to be the strongest brand in the world by letting anybody dilute it. I don't care if you think this is a good or a bad thing. It is what it is and I don't see it ever changing.

    2. I disagree strongly. Apple's control over it's app market is one of the few things keeping it (mostly) safe. While not perfect, it's a far cry from the stygian hell that is the play store. 3/4s of what you find on the play store I would call malware outright. I gladly recommended apple products to non-technical users because at the very least I know there are measures keeping the truly nasty shitware away. When your users are the technical equivalent of retarded toddlers that impulsively jam forks in to every electrical outlet they see, you need something like the apple store.

    Personally, I use an iPhone because it's simple and it works and there is broad support from nearly ever vendor on the planet. I fire it up every day and it does what I want. Updates are regular and painless. I can play around with fancy trendy shit, and turn it off when I don't care about it. It's an appliance.

      Apple's security model where you grant applications privileges at the time of request is vastly superior to the grant-at-install-forever model that android uses. (Google may implement this, but it will break a whole lot of apps)

    I use an android tablet, a linux workstation, a windows game computer I built myself, and a whole lot of other computing devices. Those are fine and fun geeky things and I enjoy doing those things. The phone, though, is something I can always rely on. I don't have to fuck around with 3rd party stores, what version of the OS i'm running, care about my screen size, or put up with preloaded and un-removable carrier shitware, or rooting my device.

    Sometimes less is more.

  • Re:Two things.... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by BasilBrush (643681) on Thursday August 14, 2014 @05:45PM (#47673985)

    None of which addresses the actual problems listed.

    You're just sticking your own biases for how things should be run, probably as someone who doesn't even use the platform, with a bogus problem that doesn't exist - there is no lack of innovation in iOS apps.

  • by sirwired (27582) on Thursday August 14, 2014 @06:07PM (#47674143)

    If you think small-time developers are upset now, I can only imagine how furious they would be if Apple started doing "pay for play". BillyBobIndy would have even less of a chance to make it.

    Really, Apple wouldn't make that much money from it, and the reputational costs would be too great. I could see a "sponsored" category being set up, but nothing beyond that.

  • Re:Two things.... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by stoborrobots (577882) on Thursday August 14, 2014 @06:56PM (#47674531)

    What revenue stream does the App store have?

    Taking 30% commission out of everything you sell via the app store and in-app?

  • Re:Two things.... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by BitZtream (692029) on Thursday August 14, 2014 @07:14PM (#47674625)

    You already had the OSx running Apple device then?

    It's OS X, not OSx, you might want to at least learn the name.

    Apple takes a pretty big bite from the proceeds to process the credit cards and such and sending the rest on to you.

    ... 30% is standard in pretty much every retail industry, and the fact that you think its a lot shows you've not actually done anything like this yourself or you'd know that for a $1 app, 0.30 is cheap considering you'll probably be paying at least $0.25 in credit card fees alone.

    So you've illustrated that all your concerns are that of someone who is ignorant of the way the process works.

  • by Lumpy (12016) on Thursday August 14, 2014 @07:19PM (#47674653) Homepage

    Step 1 remove ALL the freaking flashlight, mirror, and fart apps. All of them.
    Step 2 no longer allow any app that replicates abilities in the stock phone.
    Step 3 Free ad choked apps are not allowed to be called "free" but "advertising supported"
    Step 4 eliminate in app purchases.
    Step 5 only apps that have no ads can be called free, groups can release open source free apps for zero cost to them.
    Step 6 all apps have a 30 minute 100% refund return policy. If I buy an app and find it is crap, I can get a 100% refund and it is removed from my phone.

    THAT is how you fix not only the apple store but the android and all other "app" stores.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 14, 2014 @07:28PM (#47674703)

    A member of my family was just given an older iPod Touch this very week. The device has the latest iOS available to it - v4.2.1 if memory serves. It has been almost impossible to find any games that can be installed to a device running an iOS version that old.

    So I don't think that removing apps that only work on the newer OS'es is the answer. Both because of the arbitrary forced-obsolescence, and also because I think that is already being done effectively, and isn't resolving whatever problems people are complaining about here related to the app store.

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