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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 mythosaz (572040) on Thursday August 14, 2014 @05:28PM (#47673499)

    Moderation and meta-moderation solve all problems. :/

    • by ShanghaiBill (739463) on Thursday August 14, 2014 @05:54PM (#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.

      • No they just need to refine the algorithms, I've been working on a predictive preferences model for the last while which may or may not come to anything, mostly for fun, but it's turning out quite nicely so far. Ratings aren't much use in this day and age and reviews are almost as suspect.

      • by mythosaz (572040)

        Sure. Shills would play a larger part in the moderation of potentially "valuable" apps. If you had the possibility of making Candy Crush money, you'd hire armies of Indonesian "reviewers" to "moderate" your apps to the top, but what's the alternative? Use your army of shills to fake download your app as many times as possible and give it five-star ratings?

        I enjoy how the Play store does things. Shows me top apps in a number of categories, and shows me some reviewer-picked shakers and movers.

      • by Rosyna (80334)

        A people-based rating system would likely be an improvement, but it would have to be carefully designed to keep it honest.

        I thought Apple already had a people-based rating system [apple.com]. Or does "Editor's Choice" not mean Choice by the Editors?

      • by Junta (36770)

        I don't make money for insightful comments

        Looks like someone didn't get the memo...

        Don't worry, I can fix it. Just send me your bank account number and your social security number for verification...

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Moderation and meta-moderation solve all problems. :/

      You joke, but I can't figure out what on earth metamoderation even does any more. It used to be checking if a moderation was fair or not, but now it's deciding if a comment is good or bad? To what end? How does that impact Slashdot comments, commenters, or moderators?

    • Moderation would work better if you could hear both sides. Let developers respond to a review like on Google Play.

      Many people seem to use reviews as an alternative to contacting customer support. For legit problems there is some fairness in doing so. However there are times when a user is confused and the develop has no way to contact that user. It would also be useful for developers to respond indicating when a real problem is fixed.
    • I have a better idea. Why not let app developers create web-sites with information about their apps? Then, e.g., Google could index those web-sites, and this would allow the user to quickly find the app they need. Also, Google's safe search could prevent users from installing the apps they do not want.

    • rm -rf *

      If a developer uploads a new copy, then it can be moderated and meta-moderated. It should also pass a basic test before being accepted, like making sure the application actually runs.

      It's one thing to be a pack rat, it's quite another to save all your trash piled up at home. The former may get you labelled as odd, but the latter can lead you to be institutionalized (after someone takes advantage of you on a reality TV show).

      For the Slashdot similarity its not like we can comment on ancient posts.

      • Why would you want to keep a 7 year old application that had 2 downloads?

        Because more than 50% of all apps have never been downloaded. This is one of the problems we are trying to solve here.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    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.

  • Permissions (Score:5, Interesting)

    by TubeSteak (669689) on Thursday August 14, 2014 @05:37PM (#47673537) Journal

    I would aggressively punish apps that demand overly broad access to your data.

    • by turp182 (1020263)

      It would be nice to filter searches by permissions. I'm not sure if that is possible with Apple. Or Android.

    • I would aggressively punish apps that demand overly broad access to your data.

      That's an Android problem not an Apple problem. An iOS app has very few permissions by default and the app ask for permission it needs in the course of running. If you say "no" , the app still should work. You can turn off previously granted permissions on a per app basis - something you can't do with Android without hacks.

  • Two things.... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by bobbied (2522392) on Thursday August 14, 2014 @05:42PM (#47673565)

    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)

    Having an APP rating system might be nice, one where users rate the app for content similar to video games as well as a user overall satisfaction score. However, just doing the first two things would fix it.

    But we all know Apple won't forgo the revenue stream and will NEVER give up editorial control because now it requires rooting your phone and voiding the warranty to set up any app store besides Apple's.

    So I guess, it's really just one thing... Allow anybody to set up their own store and not require user to root their device to load apps from it.

    • How can Apple retain total, maniacal control by giving up some control?
      • Actually, I would adjust this slightly.

        First, as Apple, I would take a weed whacker to the store and remove huge swaths of duplicate applications. I'd pick three to five apps for a particular category, based on the product and the developers' fealty to Apple. Apple doesn't want developers just dumping applications. Apple wants their customers to have a support mechanism for apps, they want the developers to quickly support iOS updates, etc. So the idea is that having your iOS App in Apple's App Store is

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

      by plover (150551) on Thursday August 14, 2014 @05:55PM (#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, Interesting)

      by AmiMoJo (196126) * <mojo @ w orld3.net> on Thursday August 14, 2014 @05:56PM (#47673669) Homepage

      My girlfriend has an iPad, and she uses alternative app stores. They just curate the apps in Apple's store and link to it for the actual install and download, but she says the one she uses (sorry, it's Chinese, I can't remember the name) makes it much easier to find stuff than Apple's because it has social integration, so she can see what her friends use and rate highly.

      Google does the same thing with Play. If people you know on G+ rate apps highly or post about them they are more likely to appear in your suggested apps. It's kinda like what TFA suggests, human beings selecting apps, but doesn't cost Google anything and is tailored to the individual.

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

      by BasilBrush (643681) on Thursday August 14, 2014 @05:57PM (#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.

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by bobbied (2522392)

        Oh yea they do, (actually IT does). Apple's app store suffers from one really obvious flaw, it's 100% controlled by Apple and not subject to any kind of competition. They religiously guard this control.

        A little bit of competition would spurn on innovation in the App market and how they are loaded and sold, which was the point I was trying to make.

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

          by BasilBrush (643681) on Thursday August 14, 2014 @06:45PM (#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 bobbied (2522392)

            Never complained about the apps myself, only what it costs to get one into the store, market it and sell it. Well, I did complain once that making me buy an Apple computer to actually develop apps wasn't appreciated either, but it's been a few years since I looked at that so somebody might have changed it.

            Any FOSS app development environments out there that don't require OSx to run?

            • Never complained about the apps myself, only what it costs to get one into the store, market it and sell it.

              I imagine that in industrialized countries, a year's wages for a programmer far exceed the $1100 startup cost (Mac mini, keyboard, mouse, HDMI cable to your existing monitor or HDTV, iPad mini, and first 365 days of iOS developer program).

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Guspaz (556486)

        And introduces a whole lot of new ones. People rail against Apple's control over app store listings, but it really does go a long way to significantly reducing the amount of malware users get exposed to. Not all of it, to be sure, but most of it.

        They could probably allow a bit more freedom by still curating their own app store, and forbidden alternate app stores, but allowing some form of manual side-loading that is sufficiently non-automated to ensure people don't get tricked into installing malware.

    • by mlts (1038732)

      I wouldn't mind the ability to sideload apps (one can do this in a limited fashion already)... but what will happen is that a Dancing Pigs 0-day will happen, Joe Sixpack and Jane Sertraline will follow the directions that the rogue website gives to download the .ipa file, load it in, then one can view the bouncing bunnies.

      Some websites which are set up to exploit any device they can already try this with apk files for Android and .deb files for jailbroken iPhones. I'm sure there are people who will downloa

      • Of course, after the sideload, their phone gets compromised, and they then hit the lawyers and press and blame Apple for allowing them to step out of the walled garden.

        Remind me again who's fault it is when an app is able to bypass operating system enforced jail and gains global access?

        Seeing as OS vendors are never held liable for their security failures the scenario you paint is hard to take seriously.

    • by mythosaz (572040)

      You forgot (3), de-ice Hell.

      Apple is never going to voluntarily let people out of the walled garden.

      • by bobbied (2522392)

        You forgot (3), de-ice Hell.

        Apple is never going to voluntarily let people out of the walled garden.

        There is that. Yes, I know, Apple will not give up control until the marketplace can pry control of the App Store out of their cold dead hands. Which is my point. Apple having 100% control is the problem, squashing innovation and competition in how App Store's work. If there was a competitor in the App Store market, you can bet there would be a lot of new ideas out there that fixed the issues discussed, and issues we don't even know about yet.

        • by mythosaz (572040)

          Are you sure?

          On the Android side, Amazon's app-store certainly had an impact, but it didn't cause the Play store to make any paradigm shifting moves, and F-Droid is barely a curiosity.

          • by bobbied (2522392)

            Yet on my droid, I have used all three of these App sources. How you can say Google's store didn't benefit from Amazon's competing? Problem is, we will never know if it helped or not.

            • by mythosaz (572040)

              I didn't say that it did or didn't benefit.

              I said it didn't cause a paradigm shift in the way the Play store works.

        • 1. There's nothing stopping someone from creating their own curated portal which links directly to the per-app download page within Apple's App store. These portals could have reviews & social media or whatever. Why haven't these sorts of portals emerged?

          2. Android doesn't have the walled garden--are the Android app stores wildly easier to use or better at promoting good vs. bad content?

          • by mythosaz (572040)

            The major benefit of Play, at least to me, is the integration with +1 actions from people in my circles.

            I know what my friends liked.

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

      by unimacs (597299) on Thursday August 14, 2014 @06:20PM (#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.
      • by bobbied (2522392)

        . 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.

        You already had the OSx running Apple device then?

        For me, I don't have an Apple computer to develop on, so I'd be out buying hardware/software first. The $99 only gives you the privilege of trying to get an app into the store and give it away. You are right, it's not much. But if you want to sell your app, Apple takes a pretty big bite from the proceeds to process the credit cards and such and sending the rest on to you.

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

          by BitZtream (692029) on Thursday August 14, 2014 @08:14PM (#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.

          • Okay. He didn't do his Apple Branding right. Big boo boo.

            30% off the top is pretty substantial. Why you insist on comparing it to 'every retail industry' is kinda weird. Why not compare it directly to other software operations? Like, how the percentage compares to the percentage a publisher that sells on their own web page gives up for infrastructure/billing costs?

            You seem like, or at least are a self-appointed, expert on the matter of selling software. So why are you making flawed comparisons?

        • Yes. Somebody who moved from OS X application development to iOS application development will already have the Mac.
        • by unimacs (597299)
          You are right about the 30% cut. It seems like a lot. I wonder how much is left over after all the fees and the cost of running the App Store is factored in. I'm sure they're still making money, I just wonder how much.
          However, there are ways to run OS X on non Apple hardware if that's what's stopping you.
      • Re:Two things.... (Score:5, Insightful)

        by stoborrobots (577882) on Thursday August 14, 2014 @07:56PM (#47674531)

        What revenue stream does the App store have?

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

      • by Bogtha (906264)

        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.

        I don't think malware is particularly worrisome in the average user's mind. I think it's more about quality.

        Speaking as an application developer, the vast majority of times I've had to say to clients "Apple won't allow that", it's been something that is self-serving and user-unfriendly if not downright abu

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      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 product

      • 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

        This is like saying improvements in Google search algorithms are responsible for reducing total garbage in search results while neglecting to understand Google's business model is actually funding production of the same garbage they claim to be fighting.

        In the very same way structure of the market itself is generating crap. If you get rid of the app stores and allow a functioning market driven by *CONSUMER DEMAND* the garbage goes away on its own.

        Regarding safety operating system enforced jailing of the ex

    • by jbolden (176878)

      Funny your suggestions already exist. Any phone can go against any server via. downloading an alternative profile and that server can have its own app distribution. https://developer.apple.com/pr... [apple.com]

      It doesn't require rooting your phone. So yes Apple not only could do this, they do it now and have for years.

  • Liability (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward

    The second you hand storefront management over to a human you open yourself up to a million lawsuits from people alleging unfair business practices.

    • by mythosaz (572040)

      A shame I commented, because I'd moderate this up.

      There's a reason that large corporations and governments are faceless, and soulless. Lawsuits. Treat anyone or anything outside of a documented formula, and *whammo!*, lawsuit.

      I like the idea of moderation and meta-moderation still, however, in at least you can say, "Hey, wasn't us. Sue *them*."

    • You can't sue a store for preferring one product over another, for their own reasons. It's standard practice for all stores to do so.

  • Allow and encourage third parties to run their own app stores. Make it easy for users to add competing app stores to their phones just like they can add "search providers" to their web browsers.

    Support side loading applications without ANY limitations.

    Provide options for filtering search results by app demands for permissions. These options should be long term set and forget knobs which do not require constant attention while searching the store.

    Fragment the heck out of any rankings don't just have one gl

    • Allow and encourage third parties to run their own app stores. Make it easy for users to add competing app stores to their phones just like they can add "search providers" to their web browsers.

      This doesn't solve the problems listed, it makes them worse. By having multiple stores you decrease each apps visibility, unless the developers do much more work to list their apps in every store. Taking time that would otherwise be devoted to developing more or better apps.

      • This doesn't solve the problems listed, it makes them worse. By having multiple stores you decrease each apps visibility, unless the developers do much more work to list their apps in every store. Taking time that would otherwise be devoted to developing more or better apps.

        I don't agree, Basil. More app stores means more/different lists of most "popular" apps, and more diverse bodies of users who will be looking for something different. It's not very Apple, but it is true. Does this mean developers have to choose which market/appstore to be sweet to? Yes. This is simply "humans" managing the App store, as Tim Cook pretended to propose. He meant "Apple employees who do what we tell them," but we are suggesting more truly independently run App stores.

        You seem to be pursui

        • by unimacs (597299)
          Why can't you just have different places supply different ratings, - maybe even specialize in certain types of app, but the apps themselves still come from the same store?
        • It was Jean-Louis Gassée proposing. He's not worked for Apple since the 80s or 90s - before he created Be and BeOS.

          I think this is an issue of the paradox of choice. There's already too much chose facing consumers. Multiple stores only multiply the choice, making it harder still.

          Your suggestion of mode/different lists is already possible and already done. The lists don't have to be on the store - they only have to link to it.

          You seem to be pursuing a dream where Apple drives customers to independent Apps.

          Not at all. Developers have to take control of their own marketing. But

      • This doesn't solve the problems listed, it makes them worse. By having multiple stores you decrease each apps visibility, unless the developers do much more work to list their apps in every store. Taking time that would otherwise be devoted to developing more or better apps.

        Let me ask you another question. In the real world here on earth do you think we would all be better off if all stores and malls were replaced by a single entity offering one global channel with one set of take it or leave it rules for buyers and sellers?

        What makes the app environment different? Why is one channel for apps viewed as acceptable yet any talk of making a single entity like Amazon or Umbrella Corp the one only channel for purchase of physical goods viewed as lunacy of the highest order?

        What r

  • Apple's current approach seems to parallel what they're doing with iTunes which really favors the labels over the artists. What they should look at is, instead, creating a community for social discovery and interaction - in short, what Amazon has done a fairly good job of (all review systems have faults and can be gamed, but it's clear that the average App Store review is generally of a lower quality than your average Amazon product review).

    While I do like seeing "featured" stuff, I also like seeing what o

  • by unimacs (597299) on Thursday August 14, 2014 @06:05PM (#47673733)
    It would inevitably lead to some developers of accusing Apple of playing favorites.

    What they could do instead (or in addition) is allow 3rd parties to easily obtain information on the most recent submissions, upgrades, etc and let them supply users with information on what is new and noteworthy.

    It's good for Apple to surface really valuable apps, but it's not their job to do the marketing for every developer nor to make sure that everyone turns a profit. They've made a huge change in the industry by making virtually all the apps available for a popular platform available from a single place. This has had both positive and negative effects on developers. It was great for awhile when there weren't that many developers and all it took to get your app in front of millions was to submit it. Now your app is competing with hundreds of thousands of others.

    It could simply be that the market is saturated and no amount of App store revamping is really going to fix that.
  • Remove old apps. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by BasilBrush (643681) on Thursday August 14, 2014 @06:13PM (#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.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 14, 2014 @08:28PM (#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.

    • by zlogic (892404)

      There are some niche apps which were updated a long time ago and yet continue working well. For example an SSH client https://play.google.com/store/... [google.com] (this is Android, but still). There are some clones of this app, adding some extra (perhaps unneeded) features, and either display ads or require payment while the original app is completely free and open-source. If it works well even on the latest hardware, should it really be removed if it's no longer updated and does not generate as much cash as the clone

  • They did a report on Too Many Games [youtube.com], which was really about bad store UIs. Steam is the 'least bad' of the biggies, but that's not saying much.
  • This approach fails for the same reason communism cannot work (yet). A small group of humans lacks the understanding, wisdom, foresight, and a whole host of other epistemic terms to decide how to organize and prioritize within such a vast system. What they do will work for some people. It will utterly fail for others. The only way to deal with something like this is to have a computer to it (same with communism, btw). I won't defend Apple's algorithms. They probably need a lot of work. Maybe the organizatio

  • There are any number of sites that rate and recommend apps. But I doubt anyone takes those recommendations seriously any more than they would take recommendations from Apple staffers. Everyone knows money talks...
  • I want radio buttons I can use to drill down my search...

    sort by what permissions they're after.
    sort by what percentage of people are still using the app after having downloaded it.
    sort by price
    sort by in-app purchases or not
    etc ...

  • SEARCHABILITY (Score:5, Interesting)

    by brunes69 (86786) <<gro.daetsriek> <ta> <todhsals>> on Thursday August 14, 2014 @06:24PM (#47673865) Homepage

    The biggest problem both the App Store and the Play Store have is searchability. There is no way to filter on anything other than high-level category and keyword, and whatever the result-based ranking algorithms on both stores uses, is horrible, always returning junk and crap instead of what you really want.

    This makes finding the kinds of apps you want even when you KNOW what you are looking for EXTREMELY ANNOYING AND OVERLY DIFFICULT, way more so than it has to be.

    It is very ironic that Google whose main business is search can not cobble together the resources to make a decent search for Android over the past 5 years.

    • by mfearby (1653)

      Amen to that, brother! The search is terrible. We need the ability to sort by popularity, download count, most recent first or last, etc. And when you click the back button to go back a page, actually go back to the page as I had it previously, not a collapsed version of the category I was looking at. I HATE looking in the App Store for apps due to the cornucopia of rubbish. The crap to quality ratio is very high, alas.

  • I think the app store should be organized for hundreds of thousands of applications better categorized. In particular searching by verticals, searching by interconnections to other applications, searching by level of sales... Mostly though I think the app store works pretty well the issue for most applications is they are yet another version of something for which better apps exist. The problem app developers are having is they aren't going after verticals which is where they should be in a more mature m

  • The basic complaint of the poster seems to be that in a store of hundreds upon hundreds of thousands of titles, only a very small number ever get discovered and successful. Huge numbers of very worthy apps never get a chance.

    That problem can't be solved by any reasonable reorganization. We users (I use the Play store, but the same situation applies) have only so many minutes of time to spend looking for and using new stuff. However you make new apps visible to users, you're punishing apps that would have be

  • When Wal-Mart decides to sell a new brand of dish soap, it isn't their job to ensure the product is a smashing success. All Wal-Mart cares about is that when you need dish soap, Wal-Mart is where you buy it; it doesn't really matter to them which one you buy. If DishSoapCo is depending on Wal-Mart to convince consumers to buy their soap, they will be sorely disappointed. (Of course, with no marketing plan, Wal-Mart is unlikely to carry the product to begin with, but that's because they have limited shelf

    • If that were true, Apple wouldn't run the Apple Design Awards.

    • by dave562 (969951)

      At the same time, companies pay premiums for shelf placement. I have never been into a Wal-Mart and are not familiar with their operations, but I know for certain that this is how it works in large chain grocery stores. The shelves higher or lower than eye level cost less than the ones right at eye level. Similarly, in the cereal eye the companies pay more to have their sugar laden cereals on the lower shelves so that they are at eye level for children.

      It would be interesting to see if Apple eventually a

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

        • by dave562 (969951)

          I agree. Short term it is not going to happen. It goes against their marketing of people being free to create for/with Apple products.

          But "never" is a very long time.

    • by mjwx (966435)

      When Wal-Mart decides to sell a new brand of dish soap, it isn't their job to ensure the product is a smashing success. All Wal-Mart cares about is that when you need dish soap, Wal-Mart is where you buy it; it doesn't really matter to them which one you buy. If DishSoapCo is depending on Wal-Mart to convince consumers to buy their soap, they will be sorely disappointed. (Of course, with no marketing plan, Wal-Mart is unlikely to carry the product to begin with, but that's because they have limited shelf space; the App store has no such limitation.)

      This is flat out not true.

      Wal-Mart certainly does care which brand of dish soap you buy because they make more money of some brands compared to others. Lots of supermarkets will favour their own brands over others unless they receive a kickback, German supermarket giant Aldi is famous for favouring it's own brands which have higher profit margins. So they certainly have a vested interest in what brand you buy.

      There are several tricks stores use to entice and cajole shoppers towards certain products. P

  • For 20 years we had nothing but Microsoft (DOS, Windows) on PC's and somehow we survived. Now we need someone to curate the app store? Why not submit your app for review, like in the olden days? The reviewing, rating and recommending of apps should be a separate function than publishing...

  • Because working for Apple is an intense spiritual discipline.

  • Nerval's Lobster needs to die. How would you go about killing this fuck?
    • by mythosaz (572040)

      Lobster needs to die.

      The humane way is a sharp knife straight down behind the eyes.

      Most research suggests they don't feel pain (as such) so submerging the head in boiling water first (as you begin to cook them) is also acceptable. [Dunking them completely in boiling water causes them to thrash, and might cause a fire on the stove, especially since you're busy clarifying butter on the other burner.]

  • #1, quit requiring an Apple/iTunes login to download free apps. Which Apple will never do.
    #2, filter by "free". Which Apple will never do.
    #3, filter by "requests no privileges not directly related to its function". Which Apple will also never do.
    #4, just give me a damned list of apps ordered by price and rating, instead of making me swipe through every...single...hit on my search.
    #5, quit disallowing apps just because they compete with your own crApple. I don't like most of the native apps.
    #6, make
  • I absolutely love that I can use Google Play from my PC: I read an article about or otherwise find a link to an app that sounds interesting, and I can click "Install" from there, it asks me which device (I have an android tablet and phone) and then .. that's it, it's installed within a few seconds.

    With Apple, all I see is a button "Open in iTunes". I barely use my iPod touch anymore, but last I tried you basically had to re-find the app on the store ON THE DEVICE to install it, or plug it in with a USB cabl

  • by sootman (158191) on Thursday August 14, 2014 @07:20PM (#47674239) Homepage Journal

    Your post advocates a

    ( ) technical
    ( ) legislative
    (x) market-based
    ( ) vigilante

    approach to fixing the app store. Your idea will not work. Here is why it won't work.

    (x) Apple is doing quite well these days, thankyouverymuch, and doesn't really give a shit how you think they should be run. (You, in general, public at large, and probably you, in particular, JLG.)

    (x) Scammy developers will pay people in 4th-world countries to say their app is great.

    (x) Probably a bunch more reasons that I don't have the energy to think up this second.

  • Browse, not search (Score:5, Informative)

    by shilly (142940) on Thursday August 14, 2014 @08:18PM (#47674645)

    A couple of folks have said it, but it bears repeating: we need hundreds of categories and subcategories. Think Amazon, not Google.

    I want to look at all the diabetes monitoring apps, or all the Talmud apps, or find the BA app. A search throws up way too much junk. A browse of a category is at way too high a level. And I want to look at all the apps in my subsubcategory, and know I've seen all of them. Search doesn't cut it. Categories and browsing is needed.

    • I agree. All app stores I've seen do this. Some just have Games all together, some go one level deeper: games -> puzzle. What is needed is games->puzzle->"like" minesweeper. To keep the subcategories small I'd suggest limiting the number of apps. Sorry we've reached our limit of 20 Tetris like games please do something original.

  • by Lumpy (12016) on Thursday August 14, 2014 @08:19PM (#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 zlogic (892404) on Friday August 15, 2014 @06:46AM (#47676381)

      Step 2 no longer allow any app that replicates abilities in the stock phone.

      Not such a god idea. If Android has a browser, a "social networking" app (Google+), a music player, an SMS app, a maps app and so on, alternatives may still be useful (e.g. an alternative SMS app with spam blocking, an alternative maps source).
      Or iPhone, which has Safari, forces all browsers to use the Safari rendering engine. Not so great if someone develops a better browser with ad blocking, a faster (or more standards-compatible) rendering engine, or some other features besides another UI with bookmarks sync.

      Step 4 eliminate in app purchases.

      Some in-app purchases are good. For example add-supported apps that allow to disable ads for a fee will keep settings, while the traditional solution with a free/paid version clutters the appstore and loses your settings if you upgrade, since it's a completely different and isolated app.

  • Stop being lazy and advertise.

    If you want to get your product in front of consumers, market it and put some effort into generating awareness. Stop expecting Apple to do it for you.

    And stop blaming Apple for your failure due to your laziness.

  • I'm not sure the premise has been established.

    "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."

    Why should either of those things be easy-- especially the latter?

  • Allow at most say 10 apps in a particular niche (say todo lists). Any app older than 2 years goes away (or are really buried like you don't get them in searches you have to page though them at 20 apps a page till you find them). You can still access it if you've purchased it in the past but it no longer is available for viewing/new downloads. New submissions with minor changes from existing apps are not accepted (ex: yet another tetris clone with different music or point system). There needs to be a balance

  • why not assign a small group of adepts to create and shepherd an App Store Guide ...because there are millions of apps, and this would be a hell of a lot of effort just to piss off the majority of developers who won't receive preferential treatment.

    -jcr

APL is a write-only language. I can write programs in APL, but I can't read any of them. -- Roy Keir

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