The App Store has made it possible for developers to distrubute their applications without any hassle, and even helped some make hundreds of thousands of dollars. But it seems that only the applications that are free or $0.99 ever make it to the “Top 25” list. In response to some complaints by developers, Apple has changed the interface on the iPhone App Store. Developers said that the dominance of free and 99-cent apps are hurting software development. The store added 20 top free and top paid lists in each category so those new applications stand a chance. Previously Apple had the top free and paid apps on the homepage, which were based on the number of downloads.
Craig Hockenberry (an engineer at IconFactory and one of developers of the very succesfull Twitterrific app and also the Frenzic app) was one of the developers that wrote a letter to Apple CEO Steve Jobs. He openly posted it on his blog, furbo.com, and he says that most developers are just lowering prices to the lowest possible rate so they will get the top placement on iTunes. This is a major flaw that prevents more advanced and innovative ideas for new applications. Craig also believes there should be more free trials and possibly a “digital end cap” (allowing the developer to pay Apple for better placement on the App Store). Apparantly his letter received lots of attention, and was also noticed by Apple. The App Store indeed has received some changes and is a big step to help new applications get out to consumers.
Currently the applications on the App Store are mostly 99-cent titles “that have a limited life span and broad appeal.” Soon those applications are going to get boring and out of style. Then consumers move on to the next app in a matter of weeks. iPhone users probably never look deep into the store to find applications. All they pay attention to is the Featured and Top Applications pages. There are too many applications on the App Store and hundreds that have the same functions and features. Most people buy because of other people they know are buying it or because the screenshot that comes along with the application looks cool. Out of all the people who buy an application, probably less than 15% actually read the desciption. Then they send complaints to the developer, when the instructions on how to use the applications are right in the description.
I really think more people need to be aware of what they buy. For example, if a $10 application had thousands of dollars and hundreds of working hours put into it, it would most likely be turned down by consumers because of the price, that’s what most people look at. Therefore Apple should let developers promote their applications and have an better interface for iPhone users to find them.