Apple’s (failed) attempt to clean up the App Store

AppstorecleanupWhile you were all asleep, Apple quietly made minor changes to the App Store. This is good news for all users as it’s the first step to a less cluttered App Store, but it’s a real pain towards developers.

Probably the most controversial change is the new “New releases” listing. When you went to the App Store before the 5th of November and you opened up a category, the apps were all listed starting with apps which were recently updated or completely new ones. Now only the completely new ones are listed and developers don’t get bumped to the top of the list anymore when they update their application. This also brings two dates to an application’s description page in the iTunes Store, a “Released”-date and an “Updated”-date.

This is good news for users as Apple is doing an effort to clean the App Store of useless updates which some developers used to push to their users to be in the spotlight for a short while. This used to be a commonly used strategy among small iPhone developers.

But is Apple doing things the right way? Probably not. Many iPhone developers are furious and disillusioned by the changes Apple made. They fear that in this way apps which are currently unknown won’t get known at all. If this is true many developer’s coding work was entirely in vain and the “Top Selling” listing as you see it now will be more likely to remain that way.

Another drawback of this change is that the “Spamming” developers will now start making new apps instead of updating their old ones eventually creating an even bigger mess. So instead of just updating things like e.g. “Incredible Wallpapers”, apps like “Super incredible wallpapers” or “Amazing Wallpapers” will start popping up, all with the same content.

A lot of developers have already announced to stop updating their Apps, even if they need updates. On the iPhoneSDK message boards moaning developers are already starting various topics about this subject. An example is this one.

At the moment it seems a harsh change but users and developers will eventually get used to this, spamming developers will change their methods and the App Store will be cluttered once again.

Written by

Renzo Verleysen, software developer & Graphics Designer, owner of UIC Phoenxsoftware and occasional writer of opinion pieces and reviews.