apple app store LogoApple has announced the the iTunes App Store has now passed 100,000 available apps, but we have to wonder why this is seen as a good thing.

All of us who work around mobile news have known this day was coming, the day that the iTunes App Store passes 100,000 available apps, but it leaves me to wonder why this should be something that should be celebrated.

Have you ever looked through the App Store in-depth?  As someone who has written more articles about the marketplace than I care to remember, I have, and I can’t say that I always walk away impressed.  Sure there are some monumentally fantastic apps out there (the app for online music site Pandora springs to mind), but there are also a ton of really horrible applications.

The App Store is becoming a victim of its own success.  As people have heard all of these stories of people making tons of money from producing an app, people that have no business even trying to build an app have gotten involved.  As the number of apps has grown, it has become impossible to secrete the wheat from the chaff, and the good apps, the ones deserving of success, are becoming fewer and further between because you simply can’t find them.

A lot of the problem stems from the overly broad categories inside of the store.  While sections such as games, probably the most popular category,  has sub-categories, other sections are just too generic.  Take music for instance, anything even barely related to music gets lumped into one gelatinous group.  Why aren’t there sub-categories like “Streaming Music”, “Radio Stations”, “Music Games”, etc?  No, it’s just all “Music”.  There are currently 182 pages in the Music category with 20 apps per page … do you want to browse 3,640 apps without any additional guidance beyond … “Music”?  Yeah, I didn’t think so.

The only problem is just good old greed.  The Weather category has 22 pages of applications … 22 PAGES!!  Does anyone really need more than one or two weather apps?  Well, here is part of the problem in a category such as this, you have people that release specific apps for cities.  On the front page of this section alone you have “iWeather Oklahoma City”, “iWeather Seattle”, “iWeather Phoenix”, “iWeather Philadelphia”, “iWeather St. Louis”, “iWeather San Antonio” and so on, with each of these apps selling for $.99.  Or you could, you know, download the app for free, enter multiple zip codes for it to install and be done.

You have app developers cranking out silly specific apps, choking the store to the point of being unusable, and Apple just seems to sit back and not care.  No, no, instead lets just keep approving app after app after app after app …

Part of the problem is that Apple does have to approve every app, and every time they deny one, there is a huge stink in the tech blogosphere with people decrying how unfair this is, and Apple shouldn’t be the gate keepers and yada yada yada.  So they keep approving the vast majority of apps that come in, no matter how lame they are, and end up choking the store so that customers can never find what they are looking for, and this results in reduced sales for the developers.  It is a vicious cycle that seems to have only Apple coming out a winner in the end.

I know it’s not an easy predicament to get out of.  Who is to say which apps are worthy, and which aren’t?  Perhaps a limit on the number of apps any one developer can release in a certain time?  I.E. “You get to release 2 apps a month”  I am sure people would complain, but something has to be done.

In the meanwhile, could we please get some more sub-categories?  Please?  Pretty please?

Categories: Apple, Opinion   

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