Archive for October 15, 2008

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Something New

James Thomson:

The recent change to the iPhone App Store so that the listed release date of software is the date of initial submission—and not the date of the last update—seems to have had a very profound effect on our sales, and not in a good way. PCalc is now currently sitting on the 29th and last page of the Utilities section, since it was one of the very first apps submitted to the store, and that means it’s now effectively dead in the water.

Thomson is a longtime developer of great Mac software, and his recently updated PCalc is one of my favorite iPhone applications.

I think the App Store’s rigid interface is increasingly becoming a barrier for users. It’s hard to find which applications are new, to find the changes between versions, and to sift through the outdated and often inaccurate reviews. Amazon has become a convenient and reliable source of information, and it’s worth going to even if you plan to buy from another vendor. With the App Store, the situation is almost reversed, and I find that the less I rely it and iTunes, the better. I try to use a third-party feed, Twitter, and blogs to track changes to the store. When looking at an app, the first thing I do is go to its developer’s Web site. Then I search Google for reviews.

The bottom line is that, unless there’s a demo, it’s hard to know what you’re getting. There’s a lot of junk, some of it highly reviewed, so the odds are not in your favor. Since the prices are generally low, I haven’t been shy about buying apps that look promising. This looks to Apple like a success, but I wish I could return about 2/3 of my purchases. That said, I’ve not soured on the App Store because a bunch of the applications I’ve bought are fabulous.