Saturday, March 14, 2009

App Store overload - smarter browser needed!

The iPhone/iTouch/iNetbook-t0-be Apple App Store recently passed the 25,000 app mark.

Let's assume 15,000 are available in English. Delete 500 flashlights and 1000 defunct or buggy apps and you still get a vast number of applications. I have about 90 applications on my iPhone *; that means I'm using less than 1% of what's been published.

Did Apple really imagine how big the App Store was going to be? Does the media understand how much this success owes to Apple's Digital Rights Management FairPlay (DRM) infrastructure? (Maybe and No.)

It's a staggering success. It's also becoming unusable.

I recently went looking for math facts/math drill apps (my reviews here). I found a pretty good set and paid for four of them**, but it was a haphazard experience. I'm sure I've missed some excellent examples. Apple's browsing and search tools are simply overwhelmed.

The App Store's "advanced" search is pretty darned feeble. Happily, they've got some very good examples to draw from. The iTunes UI for constructing smart playlists is pretty damned good. Apple needs to reuse that design in the App Store.


* Those are the ones I or my children use. There are another 10 or so that we've set aside and no longer keep on the phone. The iPhone app management browser is completely overwhelmed by 90 apps, but presumably iPhone 3.0 will address that.
** And that's a part of the genius of the App Store. I didn't agonize over my purchases. I looked at a few reviews, always checking the negative ones first, then bought without a qualm. $1-$3 doesn't take much thought when I'm 90% sure the product will be pretty good. If only my earth-world purchases were so predictable.

No comments: