App Store for Developers is a great business environment in many ways. The review process is fairly quick, interface doesn’t impress but offers what you need and iOS is one of the most well done programming environment i have seen, at least one leap ahead of Microsoft. Android is great tool, but the wide variety of implementations creates an extra challenges in making sure your software is compatible with all the Android version out there. None of this happens with iOS.
However, there are some things that should be improved to App Store in general.
1. Search – it simply sucks for users. I am not sure how the tags or the description we enter in the app description works or if is used at all. It seems that the title is the most important criteria and hence everybody is focusing on generic names or keywords in the title. Just like the old web in the pre-Google era.
2. Categories – the categories that App Store has now are simply not enough. There should be also subcategories that will help to sort out better the apps or for example, cross-level categories to sort out apps for children, auto-related, etc across categories.
3. Better review process – it simply should not allow apps that have fake screenshots. They are called screenshots for a reason and they should stay like this. Many apps have doctored screenshots or screenshots that have nothing to do with the app itself. It’s bad for the consumer, it’s bad for business but i am sure that there are some developers out there that cash on this practice.
4. Useless apps – there are a lot of apps outdated. There should be an “let it forgot” mechanism that should disable old apps or outdated apps. It will also help clear the sheer number of approved apps. If an app has less than X downloads over a Y period of time, they should be demoted to inactive and deleted. There are also apps that should not have been approved in the first case:
- bad graphics – iOS and the devices are so nice but you let approve apps that look like crapware;
- useless apps – I have seen apps that are actually books or just a collection of photos or just a song;
- scamwares -there are apps that are simply there to skim users of a dollar with unclear description, screenshots or names (google other blogs for examples).
5. Reporting – App Store provides statistics of your apps sales every 24 hours. While this is OK, it could be faster, actually as close as possible to real time. Hey, Google can do it with their AdSens or even Facebook with their ads, Apple cannot pull this off? In the era when you need to coordinate marketing across a lot of channels, a quicker feedback on your results is damn useful.
6. Consumer to Developer communication – App Store can be easily a channel where developers can interract with the consumers. You can get reviews (some of the bad) but you cannot reply back in case the user didn’t understood a feature. You can report reviews but for example you cannot report a bad app (fake screenshots, etc).
The amount of work that Apple and the reviewers puts in must be huge and with a lot of stress. This definitively needs to be appreciated and we (developers), consumers and Apple should work together to make it better and easier!