While we talk a lot about apps for Apple devices like the newly-minted iPhone 5, the release of iOS 6–the operating systems which powers the iPhone 5–has sparked a variety of changes in the place where those apps are acquired: the Apple App Store itself. These changes have left developers looking to catch up, but what can be done?
Admittedly, the consensus on just how much damage the changes have done isn’t exactly strong. Some believe that the changes, inspired by Chomp, in the App Store redesign are a big help for independent app developers. Others, meanwhile, point to flagging sales numbers following the changes and beg to differ. But what’s so different about the App Store that’s driving some to concern?
App makers will now have to deal with several changes that will fundamentally alter the way people use the App Store. For instance, there is now an increased focus on horizontal, rather than vertical, scrolling. The App Store looks a bit more like, say, Xbox Live Arcade these days, with all its titles in a bar rather than in a grid. Also, once users actually tap an icon to find out more about an app, they get two new big blocks of text called “description” and “what’s new”, giving developers an opportunity–one that’s actually easy to miss–to win users by making a good case for using the app in just a few lines.
A more significant change comes in the form of the search function. App names have always been cut off, slightly, in the search function. The new card-based version, however, cuts things off a bit more, which in turn gives developers something of a challenge to make sure their cards will say sufficient things about the app itself to get users to tap the card.
Perhaps most telling of all is the changes made to the new release section, which no longer simply lists every new arrival to the App Store. This in turn requires developers to do more outside promotion, as well as being more tightly dependent on SEO within the App Store itself to draw interest.
The changes to the Apple App Store are putting plenty of developers behind the eight-ball, but given the sheer popularity of the App Store itself–over 600,000 apps at last count populate the App Store–it was clear some changes needed to be brought into play for the sake of the user base. While users may have an easier time getting around, for those whose small business ventures focus on development of apps, it’s going to leave them struggling for a while to get back up to speed.
Apps alone, however, have never been enough to make a small business truly successful. Cloud-based telephony options like screen pops and click to call give small businesses a way to give their customers much greater value through not only improved communication capability, but also through easier access to those answers that customers with questions find themselves in need of.
So while the changes to the App Store may be both opportunity and problem for app developers–and potentially a big help for those who use the App Store–the need to adapt and succeed despite change will always prove valuable in the end.