Saturday, July 19, 2008

App Store Listings Unethical

Nope, I'm not talking about developers adding special characters or numbers to their app names to get attention, I'm PO'd about Apple engaging in false presentation of apps.

A "Featured" list would be fine to display apps whose developers pay advertising revenue to Apple. I would think the apps in the banners at the top of the AppStore or in that band below "New" listings would fit that bill.

Unfortunately, Apple seems to be deliberately making all their lists on the splash page "featured" lists, making it difficult for consumers to find and choose apps. This is misleading, and unfair.

For example, I browsed the app store on launch day, and want to check to see if any new apps have been released (updates I don't need - get them automatically). You would think that the place to look is at the top of the apps store under the new heading. Unfortunately, if you click to display 'new' you get a very abbreviated list of apps, many of them not new at all. Furthermore that list comes presorted with 'featured'. If you sort by 'release date', you get reverse chronological order, but again it is missing many, many apps. For example, there are no apps listed for 17 July there. See this screen shot:

AppStore New

If you go to the pane on the left of the app store, and select "All iPhone (or iPod Touch) Applications", and then sort by "release date" you get a very different list that isn't included under the "New" heading. Yup, several released on 17 July. Sure, some of these are updates, but not all of them. Apple isn't doing us any favors by misleading us, and is wasting my time in particular.

Another example is from the "Games" listing in the left sidebar. If you click that, you get a page with frames for different categories of games, such as Action/Adventure, Casino/Card, Family/Kids, Racing/Arcade... I was trying to find a Solitaire game that I was playing as a web app - Cookie Bonus Solitaire. I clicked on the "See all" link for Casino/Card Games and I get this very small list of games:


There, that's it. Just eight games! And no Cookie Bonus Solitaire. I could find CBS by searching for its name in the PowerSearch. And if I search for "solitaire" alone, I get TWENTY TWO apps (including a few MahJong type games).

WTF is going on, Apple? Are you deliberately misleading customers to make certain developer's products fail? Or are you truly this selfish that you cannot do what's best for the consumer? Very, very disappointing, unethical, immoral, and plain stupid.

Please fix this yesterday.

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