With over 75 billion applications downloaded and more than 300 million people visiting the App Store every week, it’s easy to argue that Apple’s marketplace for mobile software is working well.
Yet consumers and app creators still often feel it’s too hard to find the right iPhone or iPad app. New features Apple announced Monday morning at the Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco should address some of that pain.
A Glut Of Apps
It’s easy to argue that Apple’s conundrum is a problem of success. As more and more applications launch on iOS, Apple’s software for iPhones and iPads, it’s getting increasingly difficult to find the app you’re looking for.
At WWDC, Apple’s annual event for developers, the company introduced an overhauled App Store that will help app makers get more exposure and present their apps in more appealing ways.
The feature developers will most likely be excited about is the ability for users to purchase multiple apps from the same developer in one bundle. (This gap was highlighted when Microsoft introduced Office for iPad as a family of apps that users had to download one at a time.)
A new “Explore” tab in the App Store is supposed to help you discover new apps, with multiple categories and subcategories you can select that fit your specific interest. A “trending searches” feature will help users find what apps other people are looking for the most at a specific time, and app listings will now feature video demonstrations next to screenshots.
Videos are increasingly popular on app developers’ websites as a way of easily explaining how an app works, so the video feature will likely see a lot of use as people upload videos they’ve already created.
Apple also introduced an “Editors Choice” feature that will display a small logo next to apps that Apple’s App Store managers deem worthy of highlighting. Apple is known for highlighting apps that it likes on the home screen of the App Store and in category pages, particularly if they’re exclusive to iOS or make use of its features. The new logo makes that stamp of approval more obvious in searches.
The company also launched a new version of TestFlight, a tool for distributing early versions of apps to testers. (This new version of TestFlight is the result of Apple’s acquisition of Burstly earlier this year.) Now, developers will be able to invite users to test applications and see results directly in the TestFlight app.
All the App Store updates will be released to the public with iOS 8 in the fall. In the meantime, developers will be busy updating their app listings to take advantage.
Image via Apple